analyse the new proposed legislation from the perspective of local and regional authorities as, although most of the legislation, strategic framework and structures are defined at the EU or national level, it is the local and regional authorities that are usually in charge of risk prevention and disaster response operations.
aim to ensure that the local and regional viewpoint is taken into account as much as possible in the provisions of the final directive that proposes a fundamental shift from protecting specific critical infrastructure assets to reinforcing the resilience of the critical entities that operate them and lays down obligations for Member States. Protection of critical infrastructure and the resilience of critical entities operating that infrastructure have a strong impact at local and regional level.
emphasise the importance of coordination between different levels and stakeholders - good multilevel and cross-sector collaboration for disaster preparedness, risk reduction and reinforcing resilience is key to enabling communities to face threats together and find common solutions to existing and future challenges.
promote the specific and important role of local and regional authorities in contributing to the resilience of critical infrastructure and their operators in their areas by making available their wealth of knowledge and experience
The rapporteur has held meetings with EP rapporteur and a shadow rapporteur as well as United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction Regional Office for Europe to communicate the positions, suggestions and critical aspects from the point of view of the local and regional level.
On 15 October, the European Parliament adopted its report on the resilience of critical entities. The report echoes the CoR's call to include the food production, processing and distribution sector in the sectors to be covered by the directive. Furthermore, the amendments proposed by the European Parliament include adding 'regional and local governments and assemblies' as types of entities, and taking into account the vulnerability of certain types of geographic areas, such as insular regions, outermost regions or mountainous areas.
The trilogue negotiations should start early 2022.
On 1 December 2021, the European Commission published a follow-up report, where it provides comments on several points in the opinion.
The Commission agrees that LRAs have an important role to play in the resilience of critical entities, but maintains that it is up to the Member States to decide on the most appropriate involvement of LRAs in the implementation of the Directive.
As to financial support from the Commission, it assures that there are possibilities from the EU funds that can be used to support critical entities in complying with their obligations pursuant to the Directive.
With regard to the call not to disregard the protection of physical infrastructure in the shift towards the resilience of entities operating it, the Commission confirms that the proposal’s focus on resilience aims to ensure that the full cycle of an incident is taken into account, i.e. including the protection aspects.
In response to the CoR suggestion for the Commission to draw up guidelines to ensure the effective and uniform application of the directive, the Commission specifies that the proposal foresees implementing acts and also possibly guidelines.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the substantial extension of the scope of the proposed directive as well as the shift from protecting the infrastructure to strengthening the resilience of the entities operating it; stresses, however, that the protection of infrastructure itself should not be disregarded;
- maintains that the strategy for strengthening the resilience of critical entities should be drawn up at national level in consultation with local and regional authorities;
- urges the European Commission to consider further increasing the number of sectors to be covered by the directive to also include the distribution chains of essential items, and in particular the food production, processing and distribution sector;
- is concerned about the possibly quite substantial financial burden incurred by compliance with the obligations laid down in the proposed directive; therefore, stresses that the Commission should provide for specific support in already existing programmes;
- proposes to have the CoR represented in the Critical Entities Resilience Group as an observer;
- highlights the need to bolster risk management governance by promoting cooperation across borders and between Member States;
- promotes and supports communication and reporting initiatives on disaster risks that may affect critical infrastructures located in a given area, vis-à-vis both local administrations and the general public.