Hellenic – France Joint Working Group for Civil Protection
The term “HE-FRA” refers today to the widely known “Hellenic – France Joint Working Group for Civil Protection”. For the time being, it aims, to start with, at enhancing the bilateral cooperation in forest firefighting. The two countries face every summer disastrous forest fires with common characteristics. The recognition of this common threat and the significant experience that has been accumulated in the past years through joint trainings but, mainly, through joint operations in the context of mutual assistance offered, has led the political leaders of the countries to the enhancement of this cooperation.
The results of these official meetings are the following:
- On 27/11/2007 a special Memorandum of Mutual Assistance in aerial means (CL – 415) was signed between the two countries to combat forest fires. The two countries have significant experience in matters of mutual assistance in aerial means. The Common Decision, which was taken by the two national authorities on 30/10/2007 and ratified on 27/11/2007 established the Hellenic – France Joint Working Group for Civil Protection; the well known “HE-FRA/J1”. Its mission, composition as well as further operational details are defined in this Decision.
- The Common Decision of the two national authorities is the unique to be signed so far in the history of this institution by Greece and France; thus underlining the importance given by the two governments in this cooperation.
HE-FRA/J1 is held under the presidency of a senior official at the General Secretariat for Civil Protection while other officials from Air Force and Fire Service of Greece are also participating. The first meeting was organized by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection on 6-8/02/2008 in Athens, while the second one was organized by the French National Defense General Secretariat (SGDSN) in Southern France on 11-13/06/2008. In both meetings took part authorized members of HE-FRA/J1 as well as other invited participants.
The common proceeding of HE-FRA/J1 was signed on 13/06/2008 at the GSCP in Athens and SGDSN in Paris. It was accepted as a whole by the Greek and French Civil Protection national authorities as well as of the two national Air Forces and Fire Services.
HE-FRA/J1 also includes exchanges of experts of the Civil Protection Operational Centers of the two countries, joint trainings, exercises with ground and aerial means in Greece and France, as well as the implementation of a special training programme for high – ranking officials of the Fire Service.