The European Court of Auditors releases today a report on the EU Civil protection mechanism - managed by the European Commission - pointing to its successful deployment in response to recent natural disasters and major disease outbreaks around the world.
An effective European coordination
The European Court of Auditors publishes today its Special Report on the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The auditors judged the EU's civil protection response to be 'well-coordinated' and the Commission’s management, through its 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre, had been 'effective'. They looked in particular at three recent disasters for which the Mechanism had been activated: the 2014 floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, and the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Activations had been timely; the Commission had respected the United Nations’ overall lead and taken steps to ensure a smooth transition to the recovery phase.
"When a disaster occurs, the reaction must be swift. Sound disaster management saves lives, and effective coordination among different responders - as we found here - is critical to the successful preparation for and response to disasters," said Hans Gustaf Wessberg, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. "The Commission’s coordinating role and its round-the-clock crisis centre are good examples of value added by European cooperation."
"I'm pleased by the Court's positive assessment on the functioning of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. This report presented an opportunity to show EU citizens that the EU can help when disasters strike and that Europe is strongest when it combines its capacities and expertise." said Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner responsible for Humanitarian aid and crisis management. "When there is a disaster every minute counts. Quick and coordinated action can save lives. This is the definition of European solidarity."
The Commission had accepted all the Court's recommendations for further improvements, most of which were already underway.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was first established in 2001 and is managed by the European Commission. It aims at strengthening swift and effective cooperation between the EU's and six participating countries' civil protection services and facilitating coordination in the field of civil protection to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing, preparing for and responding to disasters. A voluntary pool of relief teams, experts and equipment from EU countries is kept on standby and made available as soon as needed for EU civil protection missions all over the world.