The main role of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism is to facilitate co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions in the event of major emergencies which may require urgent response actions. This applies also to situations where there may be an imminent threat of such major emergencies. It is therefore a tool that enhances Community co-operation in civil protection matters and was established by the Council Decision of 23 October 2001.
In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, CPM goal is to provide added-value to European civil protection assistance by making support available upon request of the affected country. This may arise if the affected country's disaster preparedness is not sufficient to provide an adequate response in terms of available resources. By pooling the civil protection capabilities of the participating states, the Community Mechanism can ensure even better protection primarily of people, but also of the natural and cultural environment as well as property. Since its creation, the Mechanism has provided civil protection assistance in a variety of natural and man-made disasters.
How did the IPA Programme on civil protection cooperation with the candidate countries and potential candidates come into life?
Historical overview of events and decisions.
The beneficiaries' status as either the EU candidate or potential candidate countries mandates the EU's focused and comprehensive approach to the cooperation in the field of civil protection, leading to their full integration in the future. Significant progress in assessing practical needs and building political momentum for such cooperation was made in 2008, on which the Commission worked closely together with the Slovenian Presidency of the EU:
The Commission Communication on Western Balkans of 5 March 2008 featured prominently civil protection as a new priority cooperation area. It mirrored the Bled Initiative by advocating a full and prompt participation of the candidate countries in the Mechanism/Financial Instrument, as well as a maximum possible cooperation with the potential candidates.
Ministerial Conference convened under the auspices of the SEECP (South East European Co-operation Process) on 9 April 2008 in Sofia, Bulgaria, adopted a statement, inter alia noting the importance of progressively linking the candidate and potential candidate countries to the Mechanism and calling for a regional strategy on disaster prevention and preparedness.
On 19 May 2008 Directors General for civil protection of the EU/EEA Member States, as well as candidate and potential candidate countries met in Ljubljana in a special Joint Session and expressed their strong support for building up closer cooperation in the field of civil protection.
On 5 June 2008 the EU Council adopted Conclusions on cooperation with the candidate countries and potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans in the field of Civil Protection, which invited the Commission to undertake a number of actions in bringing these closer to the Mechanism, including through a development of a comprehensive programme.