Opinion Factsheet  

Review of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

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Opinion Number: CDR 617/2018
Rapporteur: BANASZAK Adam
Commission: NAT
Status: Adopted
Date: 16/05/2018
 
The focus of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism must remain on achieving disaster resilience to mitigate the risk of disasters and minimise the damage that they cause, with the principle of disaster resilience and "building back better" being streamlined into all EU policies and Funds.
CoR proposes stress tests and certification of the response capacities that the Member States make available to the European Civil Protection Pool.
The purpose and task of "rescEU" needs to be pursued in a manner that maintains the core responsibility at Member State level, while facilitating greater interaction among affected Member States and local and regional authorities. For an immediate and effective response, well-qualified and well-equipped local units are crucial.
The CoR's 2018 work programme in the field of civil protection focused, among other areas, on the new legislative proposal on the review of the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

The rapporteur intensified CoR's strategic partnerships, participating as a panellist at the European Civil Protection Forum 2018, the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development and also at the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in Rome, Italy as one of the panelists of the session dedicated to national and local Disaster Risk Reduction strategies. The CoR rapporteur on the Union's Civil Protection Mechanism also actively participated in the work of the Steering Committee of the 'Making Cities Resilient' Campaign.

The CoR opinion was adopted in May 2018. The CoR opinion fed into the EP's report on the subject, which took on board some of the recommendations of the CoR underlining; the important role of LRAs in disaster prevention and management and when developing risk assessments, the importance of a territorial and community-led approach and local community action, and the need for training to enhance the capacity of communities for self-help. The European Commission, in its follow-up, takes note of several suggestions contained in the CoR opinion, notably the proposal to create a guiding framework for developing risk management plans and the call for a disaster preparedness strategy that would cover training, exercises, exchange of experts.

These activities improved the overall visibility of the CoR as an important player in the field of civil protection and demonstrate that it is regarded as a valuable and reliable partner. The political agreement was reached on 12 December 2018 and entered into force on 21 March 2019. The impact of NAT work on the legislative proposal will be assessed later in 2019.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- underlines that the main focus of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism must remain on achieving disaster resilience so as to mitigate the risk of disasters and minimise the damage that they cause, and that the principle of disaster resilience and "building back better" must be streamlined into all EU policies and Funds;

- underlines that risk assessment and risk management planning provisions need to be drawn up in partnership with local and regional authorities;

- supports stress tests and a process for certification of the response capacities that the Member States make available to the European Civil Protection Pool;

- stresses that the Commission must ensure that the new reserve is aimed at coordinating, supporting and supplementing the action of Member States, rather than giving the EU its own resources or new competences, and that EU-level action must be focused on coordinating and supporting the actions of Member States and their local and regional authorities;

- notes that the Union Mechanism should be properly communicated to regional and local actors;

- stresses that ex-ante conditionalities based on risk assessment and risk management planning alone will not help achieve disaster resilience. Disaster resilience must be set as a criterion in the rules governing the use of Funds;

- underlines that to ensure compliance with subsidiarity, the purpose and task of "rescEU" needs to be pursued in a manner that maintains the core responsibility at Member State level, while at the same time facilitating greater interaction among affected Member States and local and regional authorities. For an immediate and effective response, well-qualified and well-equipped local units are crucial, as is the role played by community-level voluntary groups;

- calls for EU action to focus on providing technical training assistance so that the capacity of communities for self-help can be enhanced, leaving them better prepared to provide an initial response and to contain a disaster.