Mr Barnier renewed his call for a "EuropeAid" force. His boss, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, discussed creating "some sort of European fleet" of jointly owned fire planes during a working lunch with the Greek prime minister, Costas Karamanlis. The EU environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas (whose officials would control such a fleet), unsurprisingly found the plan "very encouraging".
European politicians should resist such temptations. Their ability to do so will say much about whether the EU puts action above spin.
Forestry experts favour rather mundane solutions, like education, making firebreaks and hiring ground crews with spades and hoes. That may please the crowds less than EU-flagged planes piloted by heroes in blue and gold flightsuits. But if politicians want to be loved, they should have chosen another trade: being a fireman, perhaps?
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