Draft European Parliament legislative resolution:
A proposal for a revised legislation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism designed to better protect and respond to natural and man-made disasters. It looks forward to increase the safety of EU citizens and disaster victims worldwide with provisions that ensure closer cooperation on disaster prevention, better preparedness and planning, and more coordinated and faster response actions.
It proposes Member States to regularly share a summary of their risk assessments, share best practices, and help each other identify where additional efforts are needed to reduce the disaster risks in order to ensure better prevention. A better understanding of risks is also the departure point for planning an effective response to major disasters.
In the area of disaster preparedness, it calls for more training available for civil protection personnel operating outside their home countries, more exercising of civil protection response capacities (such as search and rescue teams and field hospitals) and their cooperation, more exchanges of civil protection and prevention experts and closer cooperation with neighbouring countries; all of which will improve the cooperation of Member States' teams on the ground.
To progress beyond the current system of ad hoc offers of assistance, it requests the establishment of a voluntary pool of Member States' response capacities and experts on stand-by, allowing for crucial pre-planning, immediate deployment, and fully coordinated interventions.
The proposal also includes for the first time a common effort of Member States to assess if there are genuine gaps in response capacities all around Europe, and to address them with the help of EU's seed financing up to 20% of the costs of necessary investments. It also allows the EU to make standby arrangements to cover temporary shortcomings in major disasters.
By adopting this decision, the European Parliament converges with the views of Member States' on the need for stronger European civil protection cooperation. The new legislation will come into force at the beginning of 2014.
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