The future for European civil protection

Treaty of Lisbon

The Treaty of Lisbon, once ratified, will introduce several changes regarding civil protection.

Article 6 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union will state that in the area of civil protection “the Union shall have competence to carry out supporting, coordinating or complementary action.”

Its Article 176c will specify that the ordinary legislative procedure applies to the adoption of civil protection legislation. This will fully involve the European Parliament as co-legislator and simplify decision-making in the Council as qualified majority voting would then apply.

Furthermore, Article 176c, will also set out that “the Union shall encourage cooperation between Member States in order to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing and protecting against natural or man-made disasters.”

European legislation shall establish the measures necessary to help achieve these objectives, yet excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

Click here for more information on the Treaty of Lisbon


Study on wild fire fighting resources sharing models

As part of the Preparatory Action on an EU rapid response capability 2009, the Commission decided to look into potential improvements for sharing wild fire fighting resources within the EU, on the basis of a study on arrangements for sharing of such resources that have been tested in other parts of the world.

The study was prepared in 2010 by EPEC-GHK and it looked into arrangements within the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, notably with regard to governance, asset procurement, resources sharing and management, operational standards and response mechanisms, cost-sharing and system financing, monitoring / early warning systems and preparedness, training and qualifications. While the systems analysed are those of federal or unitary states and therefore different from the EU, there are valuable lessons that can be useful in developing the European arrangements. The study found a wide diversity among these systems but also important common elements. In all of the systems there is a central hub for resource exchange among the member organisations, which is a coordinating platform for either all operations or those that can not be handled at provincial/ state level. Assets that are made available for sharing are either procured at the federal level (US federal agencies being one example) or at the sub-federal levels. In all cases the higher national/federal level is co-financing some of the costs of these assets, while there is also an established cost-sharing mechanism on the basis of pre-identified calculation methods, based on the actual use of assets (exception being New Zealand, which has a specific model as compared to the other analysed countries).

On the basis of the case-studies, the consultant has also developed a series of options for the further development of the European Civil Protection Mechanism as regards arrangements for wild fire fighting resource sharing.

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Study on the gaps of EU's civil protection capacity

As a follow-up of the Commission Communication on Reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response Capacity which outlines proposals for further developing EU's civil protection capacity, the Commission launched the study on "Strengthening the EU capacity to respond to disasters: Identification of the gaps in the capacity of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism to provide assistance in major disasters and options to fill the gaps – A scenario-based approach"

This study is an initial first step towards gaining a deeper insight in the actual issues that may hinder the civil protection disaster response capacity of the EU. The study suggests that despite the limited information available the scenario approach worked well as a methodology for determining the minimum impacts and needed response capacities for these types of future disasters. It concludes that "the Community Civil Protection Mechanism currently facilitates assistance without guaranteeing European assistance; but that several options exist that have the potential to reform the Mechanism into a tool that guarantees European assistance". Several categories of gaps and potential options for addressing these gaps are identified in the study.

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For a European civil protection force: europe aid

On 9 May 2006, former European Commissioner Michel Barnier produced a report on European civil protection commissioned by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso. The report centres around the creation of a European civil protection force ("Europe Aid"), using Member States' resources in much the same way as the Mechanism. The Force would also be able to acquire additional resources at EU level. The focal point of the Force would be an Operations Centre – i.e. the MIC reinforced with Member states' experts.

Read the report in English

Lire le rapport en français