EPP Group backs new and improved European Civil Protection Mechanism to help Member States deal with natural disasters
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted in favour of the improved EU Civil Protection Mechanism, already established in 2013.
"The current system showed its limits and for this reason we need to strengthen it. Natural disasters are intensifying and climate change requires a collective response. When will the Union act, if not now?", commented Elisabetta Gardini MEP, Parliament’s negotiator on the dossier.
The renewed Civil Protection Mechanism is intended to help Member States cope with natural and man-made disasters in a more efficient way. It will provide for its own operational capacities at EU level, such as aerial forest firefighting, high capacity pumping, field hospital and emergency medical teams and other tools in order to help with a wide scope of disasters ranging from health emergencies, floods, fires, as well as terrorist attacks and chemical and nuclear threats.
Gardini continued: "Importantly, the European Civil Protection Mechanism will not replace the volunteer services at national and regional level, but rather strengthen and complement their work, as a safety net, because no Member State should be left alone to cope with natural catastrophes. The operational command and control remain entirely in the hands of Member States."
"It is high time for the European Union to demonstrate its solidarity in concrete terms. Furthermore, we have to listen to the 90% of citizens demanding more civil protection. Through the new mechanism, we are responding to our citizens' demands for more solidarity with maximum efficiency and minimum bureaucracy - not in theory, but in practice", she concluded.