A European Union workshop entitled 'Enhancing the European Disaster Response Capacity: Joint/Multi-National Modules' is hosted by the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 January 2014, at Zappeion Megaron, in Athens. It is the first workshop taking place after the entry into force (as of 1.1.2014) of the new EU legislation on the European Civil Protection Mechanism.
Union Member States are represented in the workshop at a very high level. Among participants are four former chairmen of PROCIV, National Training Coordinators, the Belgian B-Fast Chief of Operations, EU Modules commanders and high ranking officials of the German TWH that has undertaken most of the ECPM training activities. Representing the European Commission Mr Hans Das, Head of the Strategic Planning Unit of DG ECHO will participate at the workshop, along with Mrs Joanna Jaskowiak from the General Secretariat of the Council and a representative from the Emergency Response Centre (ERC).
All speakers and participants have expertise and experience in Civil Protection Modules as they are defined in the framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, and will be able to contribute with their knowledge and experience during group work.
Participants will join one of the following working groups:
1) Joint Modules,
2) Multi National Modules,
3) Joint/Multi National Modules,
for the following categories of risks: floods, forest fires, earthquakes, tsunami, technological, CBRN, twin disaster scenario.
Questionnaire and draft conclusions
It is worth noting that from all 28 MS, 25 are participating in this workshop (21 of which have registered modules), while Hungary participated in the questionnaire that has been sent to Member States at mid-November 2013. The questionnaire results will be analysed at strategic, operational and tactical level (this will be the first time that the results of a Presidency questionnaire will be tested at operational level at the «EU Prometheus 2014» full scale exercise in May-June 2014).
All MS that have CP modules registered have assisted the Presidency in outlining the final draft to be submitted to the Council. It is worth noting that the number of participating EU member states is a record number.
The outcome of the workshop, will be compiled into a report which will be distributed to all participants, MS and the Commission. Based on this report and other relevant work on the subject, the Presidency will present draft Council Conclusions on Joint/Multi-National Modules and will lead the discussion in PROCIV.
The workshop is organised by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection and is co-funded by the European Commission.
The EU Joint Modules
One of the main priorities of the Hellenic Presidency in the field of Civil Protection is to advance the work on joint/multi-national modules. These modules consist of capacities of more than one participating states. They are specifically mentioned in the new Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and, in the Presidency's view, they can significantly contribute to successfully achieving the objectives of the UCPM in terms of response capabilities.
The concept of the joint/multi-national modules will be tested for the first time on the ground after the implementation of the new EU Civil Protection Legislation, in the ‘EU Prometheus 2014’, Full Scale Exercise (FSE), scheduled to take place in May/June 2014 in Athens.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism
All 28 Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and FYROM participate in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Out of a total of 32 participating countries, 24 (22 MS) have registered EU Civil Protection Modules.
Therefore, today, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has a capacity of a total of 165 Modules qualified to intervene in 17 different types of disaster in the event of major emergencies. France has the largest number of modules among EU MS, followed by Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Austria and Poland. Most modules are registered for MUSAR operations, followed by HCP, GFFF-V, CBRN-DET and HUSAR. Regarding disaster types covered by these modules, earthquakes top the list, followed by floods and forest fires, CBRN incidents and medical emergencies along with Technical Assistance and Humanitarian Relief Units.
Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated over 150 times, for very different types of disasters.
This initiative of the Hellenic Presidency is being implemented with the cooperation and support of the General Secretariat of the Council and the European Commission’s DG ECHO.