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Strengthen EU's civil protection response - rescEU

EESC opinion: Strengthen EU's civil protection response - rescEU

Key points:

The EESC considers that the rescEU mechanism proposed by the Commission has the potential to:

  • convey a strong message of European solidarity to European citizens at a time when the EU has a great need for this,
  • boost the cooperation of EU accession countries but also help create a corresponding solidarity mindset which should prevail in EU Member States,
  • introduce countries cooperating within the European institutions to sensitive and important matters, making them aware of what a union of states like the EU means in practice, over and above the normal areas that tend to be discussed,
  • strengthen regional cooperation through bilateral agreements and help reduce tensions in sensitive political areas, as has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past when major natural disasters were addressed collectively.

The EESC notes that, in addition to the information provided by the Commission on the intensity of natural phenomena and disasters up to 2017, this summer further demonstrates the need to revise and reinforce the current framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Fires, heat waves and floods, the intensity of which is unprecedented across the EU – even in areas not hitherto regarded as being vulnerable to such disasters – and linked to climate change, as well as unpredictable strong earthquakes with a high rate of recurrence, causing massive destruction and loss, demonstrate the need for initiatives similar to that proposed by the Commission in the form of rescEU.