The European Commission proposed Thursday to the Twenty-Seven to institute an annual commemorative day for the “victims of climate change”, on the occasion of the first anniversary of deadly floods in Belgium and Germany.
“As we remember today the loss of life due to erratic weather conditions, there are deaths almost daily in the world. It's time to pay a little more attention to these victims,” Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the EU executive, said on his arrival at a meeting of EU environment ministers in Prague.
He recalled the approximately 220 deaths in July 2021, following the floods caused by torrential rains in Germany and Belgium, but also the six deaths from a tornado in the Czech Republic in June 2021.
As Europe is gripped by a heatwave and massive fires, EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius paid tribute on Wednesday evening to the victims of a helicopter accident in Greece which was helping to fight a forest fire.
“It would be nice to have at least one day a year in Europe to commemorate the victims of the catastrophic weather conditions caused by the climate crisis,” said Mr Timmermans. Moved to tears, he spoke of the death of a colleague's 15-year-old daughter, who was washed away last year in the Belgian Ardennes.
The proposal will be submitted to ministers of the Environment of the Twenty-Seven, before discussion with the Member States.