Government stresses prevention to avoid more wildfires this summer

Friday 23 August 2019

The Acting Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, informed the Council of Ministers that the fire on the island of Gran Canaria, which he described as "the most serious in Spain since 2017", is now under control.

Luis Planas explained that 10,346 hectares have been affected by the fire with a perimeter of 112 kilometres, which led to the largest deployment of resources ever seen in the Canary Islands.

The acting minister thanked all the fire-fighting services, of the State, of the Regional Government of the Canary Islands and of the Island Council of Gran Canaria, for their work and "their professional commitment". "Despite the danger to their own lives, they have managed to avoid the worst outcome, which would have been the loss of human life, and they have also limited the material and environmental damage".

Pool Moncloa / Fernando CalvoLuis Planas warned that the risk of fire during the summer period continues and it is necessary to remain alert, and called for citizens to adopt all the preventive measures possible, after recalling that 90% of wildfires that break out in Spain are by accident, through negligence or criminal actions by humans.

The acting minister highlighted that our country has the second largest surface area of forests in Europe and the third largest in wooded areas, and argued for the need to step up investment in forest policy as an element to combat climate change and to conserve the soil, air, water and bio-diversity, as well as an element to enhance the development of the "circular economy through the positive and healthy management of forests".

Emergency actions in Ávila, Toledo and Madrid

The government approved the allocation of almost 2 million euros for actions for the reparation of areas affected by fires back in June in Ávila, Toledo and Madrid. "When fires are put out, the urgent reparation work begins", explained the acting minister, such as removing burnt timber, avoiding soil erosion, restoring the natural habitat and recovering damaged infrastructure.

Claim for lack of jurisdiction lodged against Regional Government of Catalonia

The Council of Ministers agreed to lodge a claim for lack of jurisdiction against the Regional Government of Catalonia in relation to its Strategic Foreign Action and Relations with the European Union Plan 2019-2022. The government considers that the text of the Plan exceeds regional jurisdiction on foreign action.

The Acting Minister for Education and Vocational Training, and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Celaá, remarked that the Plan ignores the State's jurisdiction and presents Catalonia, "by act or by omission", as an international party.

Luis Planas, in temporary charge of the ordinary affairs of the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function, argued that the Plan created "a fictitious State that does not correspond with our constitutional reality, which brings into question the State's foreign action and coordination work and systematically omits the existence of Catalonia as part of Spain".

Security operation due to the G-7 Summit in Biarritz

Pool Moncloa / Fernando CalvoThe government analysed the report from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the action scheduled on the occasion of the holding of the G-7 Summit, in the French town of Biarritz from 24 to 26 August.

The Government Spokesperson, Isabel Celaá explained that the first goal is to prevent any undesirable threat of violence". To this end, and in coordination with the French Home Affairs Ministry and the Regional Government of the Basque Country, security operations have been organised in which some 13,000 French police officers, 2,810 officers from the Spanish National Police and the Guardia Civil and officers from the Ertzaintza [Regional Police Force of the Basque Country], are taking part.

Isabel Celaá pointed out that measures are also being coordinated so as to "ensure the fluid movement of travellers". Alternative routes are being recommended to avoid delays and the movement of dangerous goods has been banned from midnight on Friday until Monday afternoon.

Pedro Sánchez in Biarritz

The Government Spokesperson announced that the Acting President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will attend the closure of the G-7 Summit, and highlighted the importance of the event due to the issues to be discussed, such as "the customs tariff war, and the slowdown of the global economy", climate change, and equal rights.

Institutional declaration on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris

The Council of Ministers approved an institutional declaration in which the Government of Spain endorses the events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris by the allied troops after World War II, which will take place in the French capital on 24 and 25 August.

Isabel Celaá recalled the participation of 150 Spaniards in the Ninth Company of General Leclerc, who was the first to enter the city, with tanks marked with such Spanish names as Jarama, Madrid, Santander, Ebro, Teruel and Brunete. The acting minister stressed their "decisive role in shaping the current European democratic status quo".

Current affairs

Pool Moncloa / Fernando CalvoThe Government Spokesperson announced that an informative coordination meeting has been convened for Monday, 26 August between the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Well-being and regional health chiefs on the outbreak of listeria food poisoning originating in Andalusia.

Isabel Celaá stated that all meat products manufactured since 2 May by the company where the outbreak was detected have been paralysed and that work is being conducted in accordance with the control and security protocols established by the Spanish Agency for Food Security and Nutrition (Spanish acronym: AESAN) and the Health Alert and Emergency Coordination Centre (Spanish acronym: CCAES).

Isabel Celaá also confirmed that Spain will take in 15 of the people rescued at sea by the vessel 'Open Arms', and that the Spanish Navy vessel 'Audaz' is anchored off the Italian island of Lampedusa, where the migrants are located.

The acting minister defended the two goals that have guided the position of the Government of Spain: "the safety and security of people and the endeavours to ensure that Europe takes on migratory policy as one of its main concerns".

Non official translation