Written by Matthew Parry
The EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) was activated recently in response to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, with Member States using it to offer search and rescue teams, water purification systems and technical assistance. The CPM has monitored over 300 disasters and been activated more than 215 times since its launch in 2001.
The CPM is designed to enhance the Union’s response to natural and man-made disasters by strengthening cooperation between the EU and its Member States, helping to coordinate civil protection efforts to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters, and promoting solidarity between the Member States and other participating countries through practical cooperation and coordination. With a relatively modest financial envelope of €368.4 million for the 2014-20 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), it is not meant to replace national civil defence capacity.
The CPM operates in the form of a Brussels-based Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which monitors emergencies across the globe round the clock, and liaises with contact points in participating countries. The ERCC may respond to disaster alerts by coordinating deployment of the European Emergency Response Capacity (EERC), a set of autonomous, self-sufficient civil protection ‘modules’ made up of civil protection equipment and transport resources voluntarily committed by one or more participating country..
Of the CPM’s €368.4 million financial envelope, €223.7 million is to be spent during the 2014-20 MFF on prevention, preparedness and response measures inside the EU, and €144.6 million on measures abroad. Twenty percent is to be spent on prevention measures, 50% on preparedness and 30% on response. In 2014, more than €10 million was disbursed in CPM funds to co-finance the transport of civil protection assistance provided by participating states.
All 28 EU Member States participate in the Mechanism, along with Norway, Iceland, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Serbia has just agreed to take part and Turkey is expected to join in the near future.