Commission welcomes provisional agreement to strengthen EU civil protection response to disasters
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have taken key steps today towards political agreement on rescEU, the plan to strengthen EU civil protection response to disasters.
Multiple natural disasters have affected all parts of the EU in recent years, causing hundreds of casualties and billions in damage to infrastructure. To better protect citizens, rescEU will strengthen the existing EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In particular, a new European reserve of capacities will be established including forest fighting planes, special water pumps, urban search and rescue and field hospitals and emergency medical teams.
On this occasion, President Jean-Claude Juncker†i said: "A Europe that protects citizens has to be there in times of need. When there is a dangerous forest fire or a flood overwhelming national response, our citizens want action not words. rescEU will ensure concrete solidarity with our Member States hit by disasters."
Strengthening European response capacities
The EU will strengthen its response capacities through the following measures:
-Establish, in collaboration with Member States, a common European reserve of capacities to respond to disasters. Such capacities would include firefighting planes, as well as other means to respond to situations such as medical emergencies or chemical biological radiological and nuclear incidents;
-Co-finance the operational costs of rescEU capacities when used for the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism operations;
-Co-finance the development of rescEU capacities;
-Increase financial support for capacities registered in the European Civil Protection Pool, including for adaptation, repair, operational costs (inside the EU) and transport costs (outside the EU).
Stepping up disaster prevention and preparedness
The EU will step up support for Member States to improve their disaster risk management:
-Establish a simplified reporting framework, focusing on key risks of a cross-border nature and risks of low probability with high impact;
-Provide support to Member States to increase their existing measures through consultation mechanism and, deployment of expert missions and follow-up recommendations;
-Share knowledge and lessons through the setting up of a new EU Civil Protection Knowledge Network.
Following today's political agreement, rescEU will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.