Solidarity is the Key. The idea itself of the European Union is based on solidarity, and solidarity is the compass that will reinforce the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). Whether it is a natural disaster or a pandemic, the EU must be able to be prepared and respond effectively and timely, especially when it comes to cross-border risks. The UCPM was already instrumental in the Union’s response to the pandemic, providing repatriation of EU citizens and helping the distribution of medical supplies such as ventilators and personal protective equipment. This must now be strengthened.
€1.263 billion will be allocated to the UCPM under the 2021-2027 financing period, supplemented by €2.056 billion from the EU Recovery Instrument. This brings the overall budget to roughly five times greater than the one available during the previous seven years.
As Progressives, we managed to strengthen EU's civil protection response (rescEU) by allowing the EU Commission for the first time to acquire, lease or otherwise contract capacities such as medical equipment and other emergency supplies in duly justified cases of emergency.
In addition, we succeeded in reinforcing prevention by keeping the provision on disaster resilience goals to support prevention and preparedness, improving capacity of the Union and member states to withstand effects of disasters with transboundary effects, and by asking the Commission to create a pan-European list of transboundary risks. This list should be taken into account by the member states when they draft their national disaster risk management plans.
Rapporteur and S&D MEP, Nikos Androulakis, said:
“Just a year ago, the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism was one of the few examples of a European response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, this crisis proved that we were not ready and not able to respond as we should have at both a national and European level.
“Hence, we set our goal to further strengthen this instrument of concrete solidarity in order to support countries in need of assistance in a unified, rapid and, above all, more effective way.
“We are proud to have achieved what we promised. Thanks to our work, we have reinforced prevention and ensured the Mechanism the power to act in the times of crises.
“The European Civil Protection Mechanism has incarnated the vision of an autonomous Europe: Unified transnational mechanisms that can guarantee solidarity between member states, setting aside competition and selfishness in times of crises.”