European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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The national disaster management system

© European Union 2019 (photographer: Christian Jepsen)

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism brings together a total of 34 countries: 27 EU Member States, 6 Participating States (Norway, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey), and the UK during the transition period. This European Civil Protection “family” shares operational challenges and similar approaches to managing disaster, while the structure and composition of emergency services in the 33 countries varies considerably from country to country.  

National civil protection systems are underpinned by European solidarity in action. Under the Mechanism, countries stand ready and prepared to help each other when national resources for disaster response are overwhelmed or need to be reinforced.  This section provides an introductory overview of key elements of the national disaster management system of the different countries.

Disclaimer: Member States and Participating States are responsible for the accuracy of the content and for keeping it up to date.

Find out more on the National Disaster Management System of:

From 1 February 2020, the UK is no longer an EU Member State nor a Participating State to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. However, as stated in the withdrawal agreement, EU legislation will still be applicable in the UK until the end of the transition period, 31 December 2020.

Looking ahead, both the EU and the UK expressed interest to continue working closely together under the Mechanism. As such, the UK may decide to become a Participating State of the Mechanism in the future. This should be enshrined in an international agreement with the EU. In any event, similar to any other third country affected by a disaster, the UK will always be able to call upon EU international assistance under the Mechanism.

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