The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have taken key steps towards political agreement on rescEU, the plan to strengthen EU civil protection response to disasters. Following the political agreement reached on December 12th, rescEU will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The aim of rescEU is to ensure that sufficient resources are available to respond to disasters with wide-ranging impacts and simultaneously affecting several countries while the costs would be covered by EU financing. The political agreement focus both on strengthening Europe’s capacity of immediate response as well as stepping up prevention and preparedness.
Strengthening European response capacities
The EU will strengthen its response capacities through the following measures:
• Establish, in collaboration with Member States, a common European reserve of capacities to respond to disasters. Such capacities would include firefighting planes, as well as other means to respond to situations such as medical emergencies or chemical biological radiolog-ical and nuclear incidents;
• Co-finance the operational costs of rescEU capacities when used for the EU's Civil Protec-tion Mechanism operations;
• Co-finance the development of rescEU capacities;
• Increase financial support for capacities registered in the European Civil Protection Pool, in-cluding for adaptation, repair, operational costs (inside the EU) and transport costs (outside the EU).
Stepping up disaster prevention and preparedness
The EU will step up support for Member States to improve their disaster risk management:
• Establish a simplified reporting framework, focusing on key risks of a cross-border nature and risks of low probability with high impact;
• Provide support to Member States to increase their existing measures through consultation mechanism and, deployment of expert missions and follow-up recommendations;
• Share knowledge and lessons through the setting up of a new EU Civil Protection Knowledge Network.
Overall, to better protect citizens, rescEU will strengthen the existing EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The idea is to implement coordination at European level to complement national level. In particular, a new European reserve of capacities will be established including forest fighting planes, special water pumps, urban search and rescue and field hospitals and emergency medical teams. Once the rescEU mechanism has been activated by a Member State, the Commission would decide on the deployment of reserve capacities and would retain the operational command and control.