(Feb. 24, 2012) On December 20, 2011, the European Commission came up with a proposal to reform the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM), established in 2001, “from the current ad-hoc co-ordination to a pre-planned and predictable system,” in order to provide a more efficient and well organized response in cases of emergency. (Press Release, Moving Closer to More Effective Disaster Management in Europe, Memo 11/927, EUROPA (Dec. 20, 2011).)
The proposal implements two requirements arising from the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon: closer cooperation among EU Members with the objective of preventing and responding to natural and man-made disasters in the EU; and joint action between the EU and its Member States if an EU Member has been subject to a terrorist attack or to a natural or man-made emergency (the solidarity clause). (Id.)
Highlights of the proposal include:
- creation of a 24/7 Emergency Response Center designed to provide better coordination in cases of a real emergency;
- simplification and improvement of transport arrangements, because, “too often,” assistance offered does not reach the destination;
- creation of a voluntary assets pool that will be subject to minimum standards, agreed to by the Commission and Member States; and
- An increase of budgetary funds from approximately €25 million to €65 million (about US$33.2 million to US$86.4 million), to enable the CPM to prevent and respond more efficiently to disasters. (Id).
The most recent member to join the CPM is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Thus, as of February 13, 2012, the CPM is comprised of 32 members: the 27 EU Members and Croatia, FYROM, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway. (Press Release, IP/12/127, The EU Civil Protection Mechanism Welcomes Its 32nd Member – The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Feb. 13, 2012), RAPID.)