Looking at the list of countries now sending help to Portugal, one wonders why do we not see any help from the U.K. Given the historical alliance as well as the large number of U.K. residents in Portugal, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect some help?

Since I live much of the year in the USA, I also notice that here there is a federal agency whose responsibility is to deal with natural disasters (FEMA). Rather than each country locally replicating disaster assistance structures, there could well be a similar EU-wide organization. Half the EU budget goes for some form of largely outdated agricultural subsidy; could we not take a chunk of that money for a FEMA-like organization?

Finally, the saddest thing about the Portuguese fires is that they seem to have a criminal origin, yet no one has been charged for setting up a fire in more than a decade. EU countries should press Portugal to improve the policing of its forrests as well as due prosectution of those starting the fires.

P.S. I am back in the U.S.A. More soon.


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