The European Parliament today adopted new legislation on EU Civil Protection which paves the way for a stronger European cooperation in responding to disasters. The European Commission welcomes the vote on more efficient disaster management which will benefit both Europe's citizens and communities globally.
The revised legislation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is designed to better protect and respond to natural and man-made disasters. It will increase the safety of EU citizens and disaster victims worldwide with provisions that ensure closer cooperation on disaster prevention, better preparedness and planning, and more coordinated and faster response actions.
To ensure better prevention, the Member States will regularly share a summary of their risk assessments, share best practices, and help each other identify where additional efforts are needed to reduce the disaster risks. A better understanding of risks is also the departure point for planning an effective response to major disasters.
In the area of disaster preparedness, there will be more training available for civil protection personnel operating outside their home countries, more exercising of civil protection response capacities (such as search and rescue teams and field hospitals) and their cooperation, more exchanges of civil protection and prevention experts and closer cooperation with neighbouring countries; all of which will improve the cooperation of Member States' teams on the ground.
The new 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) was inaugurated already in May 2013. It monitors the situation around the world and provides for an information and coordination hub during emergencies. Among other tasks, the ERCC also ensures that Member States are fully aware of the situation on-site and can make coherent and informed decisions for providing financial and in-kind assistance.