European Parliament urges Member States not to waste time as the Institutions enter into negotiations.

"We are at the 11th hour to agree on how to make civil protection in Europe more efficient", said Elisabetta Gardini, the MEP negotiating for the European Parliament on a dossier called the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Gardini welcomed today's start of negotiations between the Institutions saying clearly that the important thing was to act fast. According to Gardini, this EU law needs to be agreed by the end of this year in order for the new mechanism to have any chance of being operational by next summer.

She called on the Austrian Presidency to make it a priority: "The sooner the Council adopts its position, the faster Member States can get ready for the next forest fire season. There is no time to waste."

The renewed EU Civil Protection Mechanism, already backed by the Parliament in May, would help Member States deal with natural and man-made disasters ranging from health emergencies, floods, fires, as well as terrorist attacks and chemical and nuclear threats.

It will provide for its own operational capacities at EU level which will make it possible to deal with multiple affected locations simultaneously, if requested.

The new mechanism will, amongst others, provide for trained medical staff, field hospitals, airplanes, helicopters and such, but it will not replace the control and command pertinent to volunteer services at national and regional level.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States

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