to contribute to the preparation of the European Vulnerability Scoreboard, in conjunction with the Joint Research Centre, the European Parliamentary Research Service and the ERCC, with a view to identifying challenges and proposing solutions to support local and regional resilience; and
to make policy proposals to:
strengthen the role of local and regional authorities in policies to prepare for and manage crises at EU level;
adapt or streamline the various instruments, whether they be old or new, in the area of crisis resilience, and in particular to consolidate a comprehensive approach to civil protection issues;
ensure crisis resilience is made a priority across all relevant EU investment policies;
tackle social and territorial inequalities when it comes to crises.
In its follow-up report published on 20 September 2023, the European Commission largely echoes the position of and calls made in the opinion, such as:
the call to strengthen the common security of supply across Europe, including by identifying critical strategic dependencies and providing the Single Market mechanisms needed to bolster the security of supply;
the importance of the social dimension in building up resilience against disasters and crises;
the fact that disasters and extreme events have the potential to increase disparities between regions and citizens - reducing these inequalities is at the core of cohesion policy;
the importance of Interreg programmes in crisis management
On societal preparedness - the Commission agrees with the importance of societal preparedness and the social dimension in building resilience against crises and disasters, also referring to the Union Disaster Resilience Goals where enhancing societal preparedness has been identified as a key priority, and highlighting that the JRC scoreboard uses social dimension as one of the four key areas assessed. In view of increasing the risk awareness and preparedness of the population, the Commission has launched a call for tender for a ʻpreparEU mapping and feasibility study’ with the objective to map national, regional and local initiatives that already exist, and identify what type of initiative would bring most added value at EU level.
On the scoreboard - the Commission recognises and highlights the work by JRC on the vulnerability index and the scoreboard, referring to it in several points, but also stating that JRC does not have plans to have more granular data than NUTS 3 level, e.g. for cities and/or municipalities but maintains that a testing phase on voluntary basis with a pilot region or city might be considered. The Commission welcomes the point on "developing an "index" and territorial vulnerability scoreboard is crucial in order to start a policy debate on how to use future cohesion policy to respond to such vulnerabilities" and intends to use regional vulnerability, whenever possible, with a view to further enhancing the resilience of the concerned territories. Statistical data at NUTS 3 level will be used accordingly, if available.
The Commission invites the Committee to promote the implementation of the disaster resilience goals and their flagships at regional and local levels. This could include actions such as upgrading local risk assessments, stress-testing local disaster scenarios, building new partnerships across sectoral and geographical borders, and mobilising resources to invest in preparedness and resilience at local and regional levels. Under the UCPM, financial support is available to LRAs and other stakeholders for projects contributing to the Union disaster resilience goals and flagships. Examples include cross-border stress-tests of various components of crisis management systems and risk communication activities.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
calls for the territorial vulnerability scoreboard to be developed in close collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission to better understand and consider risks related to the vulnerabilities of local areas and populations;
believes that Europe must invest in a new approach of societal preparedness, a collective capacity to prepare societies for the future crises and disasters, with emphasis on the civic, social and human dimension and with particular attention on the most vulnerable;
calls for crisis resilience and tackling social and territorial vulnerabilities to become a political and programming priority for cohesion policy and for a policy debate on the use of future cohesion policy to respond to such vulnerabilities based on the territorial vulnerability scoreboard;
proposes new initiatives to educate young children, provide training in first response and first aid for young people and promote voluntary civic engagement;
proposes setting up a European risk and crisis school to provide training pathways, develop professional frameworks and accreditation schemes;
calls for a cross-cutting approach to vulnerability, crisis preparedness and crisis management and for the index and the vulnerability scoreboard to be taken into account in other EU policies beyond cohesion policy.