Civil protection legal texts

State of play

There are two main pieces of legislation that cover European civil protection, these being Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism (recast) and Council Decision establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument (2007/162/EC, Euratom). Three Commission Decisions have been issued after the adoption of these two main pillars of civil protection legislation, each of them having a specific purpose within the meaning of the Council Decisions. One of these Decisions (2007/606/EC, Euratom) deals with laying down implementing rules for transport; the other two (2008/73/EC, Euratom and 2010/481/EU, Euratom) provide for the implementation of the modules concept.

The Community Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument together cover three of the main aspects of the disaster management cycle – prevention, preparedness and response. The Mechanism itself covers response and some preparedness actions, whereas the Financial Instrument enables actions in all three fields. The two pieces of legislation are moreover complementary as the Financial Instrument finances the Mechanism.

There are of course other legal texts which are not yet legislative pieces but contain proposals or observations which will have a bearing on civil protection. These include the Commission Communication on Reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response Capacity, the Communication on strengthening Early Warning Systems in Europe; and by the end of 2008 a document that will encompass a comprehensive prevention initiative.

As both of the Council Decisions were adopted in 2007, the current framework is a relatively new one. It however builds upon several years of previous legal texts

Legislation in force

29/07/2010

Commission Decision 2010/481/EU, Euratom amending Decision 2004/277/EC, Euratom as regards rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom establishing a Community civil protection mechanism

20/12/2007

Commission Decision 2008/73/EC,Euratom amending Decision 2004/277/EC, Euratom as regards rules for the implementation of the Mechanism

08/11/2007

Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism (recast)

08/08/2007

Commission Decision 2007/606/EC,Euratom laying down rules for the implementation of the provisions on transport

05/03/2007

Council Decision establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument (2007/162/EC, Euratom)

29/12/2003

Commission Decision 2004/277/EC laying down rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2001/792/EC

 

Other legal texts

26/10/2010

COM(2010)600 Communication Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance.
Also in FR and DE

05/03/2008

COM(2008)130 Communication on Reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response Capacity. Also in FR and DE

14/12/2007

Commission Staff Working Document SEC(2007) 1721, Towards Better Protecting Citizens against Disaster Risks: Strengthening Early Warning Systems in Europe

 

 

Council Conclusions and Resolutions

21/05/2010 Council conclusion on Psychosocial support
28/11/2008 Council Conclusions calling for civil protection capabilities to be enhanced by a European mutual assistance system building on the civil protection modular approach (16474/08)
16/06/2008 Council Conclusions on Reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response Capacity – towards an integrated approach to managing disasters

06/12/2007

Council Conclusions on the establishment of an Early Warning System for tsunamis in the North East Atlantic and the Mediterranean region

06/12/2007

Council Conclusions on the development and establishment of Early Warning Systems in the EU

12/06/2007

Council Conclusions on enhancing the coordination capacity of the MIC

12/06/2007

Council Conclusions on CBRN-related incidents

 

 

European Parliament Resolutions

19/06/2008 European Parliament resolution of 19 June 2008 on stepping up the Union's disaster response capacity

10/04/2008

EP resolution on Commission Green Paper on Adapting to climate change in Europe - options for EU action [P6_TA(2008)0125]

11/03/2008

EP Declaration of the European Parliament on early warning for citizens in major emergencies [P6_TA-PROV(2008)0088]

20/02/2008

EP Resolution on the Treaty of Lisbon [P6_TA(2008)0055]

12/12/2007

EP Resolution on the Commission legislative and work programme for 2008 [P6_TA(2007)0613]

04/09/2007

EP resolution on this summer's natural disasters [P6_TA(2007)0362]

Historical background

There were two other legals text that were the direct precursors to the current framework. The first dates back to 1999 establishing the Community Action Programme in the field of civil protection. A first two-year Action Programme (1998-1999) was followed by a five-year Action Programme (2000-2004). This was extended till 2006 through Council Decision of 20 December 2004.

The second major legal text was Council Decision of 23 October 2001 establishing the original Mechanism, A later Commission Decision of 29 December 2003 laid down the rules for the implementation of the Community Mechanism, defining its duties and the functioning of the various tools made use of in the Mechanism.

The tsunami that hit South Asia in December 2004 however beckoned a major overhaul of system as a whole. Both the Council and the European Parliament called on the Commission to explore areas of improvements to the Mechanism. This resulted in a series of Commission Communications aiming at developing a more robust European civil protection capacity, enabling the Union to react more rapidly and effectively to any type of disaster in the future. As a result, the Commission tabled a recast of Council Decision (2001/792/EC) on 27 January 2006 on 27 January 2006 intended to reshape the Mechanism. Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom was mainly based on this Communication.

The Commission also adopted a Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a Rapid Response and Preparedness Instrument for major emergencies on 20 April 2005. This proposal provided the future legal framework for the financing of civil protection operations. The Commission proposed a major increase in the future financing for European civil protection actions, with annual amounts ranging from €16 million in 2007 to €30 million in 2013. In doing so, the Commission recognised the importance of immediate civil protection assistance as a tangible expression of European solidarity in the event of major emergencies. Renamed the Civil protection financial instrument this legislation was adopted on 5 March 2007.

The very foundations of civil protection co-operation at a Community level go back as far as May 1985 in the May ministerial meeting (Rome). Six resolutions were consequently adopted over the following 9 years. The results of these resolutions were a number of operational instruments covering both preparedness and response. Activities were organised on the basis of the subsidiarity principle laid down in the Maastricht Treaty. Of importance is the Resolution of 8 July 1991 on improving mutual aid between Member States in the event of technological disasters.

The Commission Communication of 11 June 2002 described progress achieved in preparedness for emergencies, amongst others the set-up of a mutual consultation mechanism to deal with any crisis involving bioterrorist threats. Furthermore a joint Commission - pharmaceutical industry task force was launched, that drew up an inventory of the availability and capacities of production, stockpiles and distribution of serums, vaccines and antibiotics likely to be used to counter any bacteriological attack.

Commission Communications and Staff Working Documents

27/01/2006

COM (2006) 29 Commission proposal for recast of Council Decision 2001/792/EC

20/05/2005

COM (2005) 137 on improving the Community Civil Protection Mechanism

20/05/2005

COM (2005) 113 on establishing Rapid Response Preparedness Instrument

25/03/2004

COM (2004) 200 on reinforcing the EU's civil protection capacity

11/06/2002

COM (2002) 302 on progress made in implementing programme for preparedness for possible emergencies

28/11/2001

COM (2001) 707 on the state of preventive alert against possible emergencies

24/01/2000

SEC(2000)136 Developments since adoption of Council Resolutions on civil protection de en fr

 

 

Previous legal texts

20/12/2004

Council Decision 2005/12/EC amending Decision 1999/847/EC as regards the extension of the Community action programme

23/10/2001

Council Decision (2001/792/EC, Euratom) establishing a Community Mechanism

09/12/1999

Council Decision establishing a Community action programme in the field of civil protection (2000-2004)

19/12/1997

Council Decision establishing a Community action programme in the field of civil protection

 

 

Council Conclusions and Resolutions

11/12/2006

General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) Brussels 11 December 2006

04/12/2006

Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) meeting Brussels 4-5 December 2006

18/07/2005

General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) Brussels 18 July 2005

04-05/11/2004

European Council Presidency Conclusions ( Incl. Hague Programme) Brussels 4-5 November 2004

22/12/2003

Council Resolution on strengthening Community co-operation in the field of civil protection research

27/11/2003

Council Conclusions on strengthening Community cooperation in the field of civil protection assistance

19/12/2002

Council Resolution on special civil protection assistance to outermost and isolated regions, to insular regions, to regions which are not easily accessible, and to sparsely populated regions, in the European Union

28/01/2002

Council Resolution on reinforcing cooperation in the field of civil protection training

26/02/2001

Council Resolution on strengthening the EU's capabilities in the field of civil protection

31/10/1994

Resolution on strengthening Community co-operation on civil protection

08/07/1991

Resolution on improving mutual aid between Member States in the event of natural or technological disaster

23/11/1990

Resolution on Community cooperation on civil protection

23/11/1990

Resolution on improving mutual aid between Member States in the event of a natural or man-made disaster

13/02/1989

Resolution on the new developments in Community cooperation on civil protection

25/06/1987

Resolution on the introduction of Community co-operation on Civil Protection

 

 

European Parliament Resolutions

05/10/2006

Joint Public Hearing: For a European civil protection force: Europe aid 5 October 2006

07/09/2006

EP Resolution on forest fires and floods [P6_TA(2006 349]

06/09/2006

Joint Motion for a Resolution on forest fires and floods 6 September 2006

18/05/2006

EP Resolution on Natural Disasters (fires, droughts and floods) - environmental aspects [P6_TA(2006)0224]

18/05/2006

EP Resolution on natural disasters (fires, droughts and floods) - regional development aspects [P6_TA(2006)0223]

18/05/2006

EP Resolution on natural disasters (forest fires, droughts and floods) - agricultural aspects [P6_TA(2006)0222]

08/09/2005

Resolution of 8 September 2005 on natural disasters (fires and floods) in Europe

13/01/2005

European Parliament resolution on the recent tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean [P6_TA(2005)0006]

For more texts from the Council and the European Parliament, please visit their respective websites.

Civil protection in other policy areas

Civil protection of course ties in with many other policy initiatives. The link with climate change is inevitable, while chemical accidents and marine pollution incidents have triggered the Mechanism into action. Community initiatives on forestry, soil, water and telecommunications also have links with civil protection. This list is not exhaustive.

Marine pollution

Chemical accidents

Climate change

Humanitarian aid

Water

Soil

Forests

Nuclear waste

Telecommunications

Public Health

 

 


For more and complete legal texts, please refer to Eur-Lex.