After the green light from the European Parliament, on March 7, the Council adopted a decision to amend the EU civil protection mechanism. The act foresees the setting-up of an additional pool of resources, rescEU, to provide assistance in situations where overall existing capacities are insufficient.
Overall, rescEU will include in particular aerial means to combat forest fires, as well as resources to respond to medical emergencies and to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. The decision will also strengthen the existing voluntary pool of national capacities.
As for next steps, the decision will be formally signed by the Council and the European Parliament this week. The signed text will then be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force the following day.
The decision includes a number of new provisions that will help Member States boost existing capacities and contribute more to the European Civil Protection Pool such as: co-financing 75% to upgrade their national capacities, co-financing the costs incurred for the deployment of assets, the implementation of the European Union Civil Protection Network, The Commission will work with Member States to ensure that investments undertaken with Structural Funds are "disaster proof". This means that they will have to take into account the risk assessments that Member States provide.
According to the February's press release from the Parliament, “the law also sets up, upon Parliament’s request, a “RescEU” reserve of resources, such as forest fire-fighting planes, high-capacity pumps, field hospitals and emergency medical teams, for use in all kinds of emergencies.” Additionally, MEPs also succeeded in strengthening the European Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network, allowing all disaster response actors to stay up-to-date and to speak "the same technical language".
The Union Civil Protection Mechanism ('the Union Mechanism') governed by Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and the Council strengthens cooperation between the Union and the Member States and facilitates coordination in the field of civil protection in order to improve the Union's response to natural and man-made disasters.
The budgetary impact of rescEU is estimated at an additional €280 million for the remaining Multiannual Financial Framework period (2018-2020).