Civil protection: Pooling resources to respond better to disasters 

An upgrade of the EU’s civil defence mechanism, tested to its limits in 2017 and 2018 by forest fires, storms and floods, will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

The new legislation, informally agreed with Council in December, will help member states to respond faster and more effectively to natural and man-made disasters, by sharing civil protection assets more efficiently.

The draft law will also set up, upon Parliament’s request, a “RescEU” reserve of resources, such as forest fire-fighting planes, high-capacity pumps, field hospitals and emergency medical teams, for use in all kinds of emergencies. RescEU will step in when member states do not have enough resources to respond to a disaster.

Background

The EU's Civil Protection Mechanism is currently a voluntary system, through which the EU coordinates participating states’ voluntary contributions to a country that has requested assistance. In recent years, extreme weather conditions and other phenomena have stretched member states’ ability to help each other, especially when several face the same type of disaster simultaneously. When limited or no support is available, the EU does not have a reserve capacity to assist overwhelmed member states.

Procedure Code: 2017/0309(COD)

Debate/vote: Tuesday, 12 February