More information on the Mechanism and current and recent emergencies:
https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection_en
European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA): http://www.emsa.europa.eu

Civil protection is just part of the work done carried out by the European Union in relation to disasters. If the emergency occurs outside the European Union, the EU may also be providing humanitarian aid in the affected country. Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection are both under the responsibility of Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, ensuring close coordination of all available resources.

Humanitarian aid: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm
Commissioner Georgieva website:
http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

According to the expert exchange programme, each Civil Protection body of the countries participating in the Mechanism can invite civil protection experts to demonstrate their working methods and exchange experience in their field of specialization. Moreover, it is possible that civil protection experts from these bodies participate in the programme for learning new techniques and working methods to countries that participate in the programme.

Information for the programme is provided at the homepage http://www.exchangeofexperts.eu.

Eligible applicants for the European Civil Protection Mechanism are Federal State, Region, City, Municipality, Local Authority, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, National Government, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Public Services, Other, Education and Training Centres. However, eligibility rules differ depending on the call for proposals.

In the event of a disaster, either within or outside the European Union, the Commission supports Member States and Participating States of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) by co-financing transport and operational costs (see Commission Decision 1313/2013/EU). Examples consist of the mobilisation of equipment and personnel deployed in humanitarian crises and natural disasters, such as aircrafts to help fighting forest fires.

The first step in the transport and operations co-financing procedure is to notify all Member States and Participating States about the need for transport and operations support. This should be done by sending to the ERCC the "Part A" document following the template presented in Annex VIII of the implementing rules. The ERCC will immediately notify all competent authorities.

Remember that only upon this notification the requested transport and operations support could become eligible for Union co-financing. Consequently this step should be done before the operation starts.

To apply for co-financing of transport and operational costs please follow these steps:

1. Grant Application: The grant application needs to be submitted at the latest 15 days after the start of the operation, but always before the end of the operation. At this stage, the application does not require a signature from the Member State or Participating State representative.

2. Preparing the Grant Agreement: The Commission starts to assess the grant application. Once the Commission has agreed on co-financing of transport and operational costs the applicant State will receive the following documents (in hard copy) for signature:

  • the special conditions of the Grant Agreement

All remaining annexes to the Grant Agreement (i.e. Annex II – General Conditions, Annex IV – Model technical report, Annex V – Model financial statement and payment request) and the full template of the grant agreement are available in Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS) in the section 'Administrative/Documents'.

3. Signing the Grant Agreement: At the stage of the grant agreement signature, the applicant should return the signed documents to the Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC). Although not physically attached to the grant agreement – all remaining annexes are considered as integral part of the agreement and need to be used at final reporting stage.

The signed grant application forms, reports, invoices, and any other document requested can be submitted electronically to mailbox: ECHO-TRANSPORT-COFINANCING@ec.europa.eu

The following information should be included in the subject of your e-mail:

REFERENCE NUMBER OF TRANSPORT GRANT – FINAL PAYMENT REQUEST – CRISIS – YEAR.

Further questions related to the grant application procedure for transport co-financing, should be direct to:  ECHO-TRANSPORT-COFINANCING@ec.europa.eu

Through the Mechanism, the European Commission contributes to at least 75% of the transport and/or operational costs of deployments.

The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) manages a reserve of pre-committed assistance from EU Member States and Participating States that can be immediately deployed. These countries may commit resources on standby in a pool, ready to be deployed as part of a faster and more coherent European response when the need arises. The quality of the response is ensured through the establishment of quality criteria and a certification process.

The centre can identify eventual gaps in the panoply of European assistance and propose how these gaps can be covered, through financial support from the EU. Under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission can co-finance operational costs, including transport costs, thus enabling delivery of assistance to the country affected within a few hours with lower budgetary impact on those offering the assistance. Pooling shipments to the affected country boosts the efficiency of the European response.

Following a request for assistance through the Mechanism, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), the operational hub of the Mechanism, mobilises assistance or expertise. The ERCC monitors events around the globe 24/7 and can ensure rapid deployment of emergency support through a direct link with national civil protection authorities. Specialised teams and equipment, such as forest firefighting planes, high-capacity water pumps, search and rescue, and medical teams can be mobilised at short notice for deployments inside and outside Europe.

Satellite maps produced by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service can also support civil protection operations. Copernicus provides timely and precise geospatial information that is useful to delineate affected areas and plan disaster relief operations. Since 2012, Copernicus has provided more than 2 000 delineation maps and 1 000 grading maps to countries affected by disasters. Following the September 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, 18 separate maps helped the Indonesian authorities to assess inaccessible areas devastated by the tsunami.

Whenever crises occur in developing countries, civil protection assistance typically goes hand in hand with EU humanitarian aid. Experts in both fields work closely together to ensure the most coherent analysis and response, particularly in response to complex emergencies.

Currently 34 countries participate in the European Civil Protection Mechanism, they are: all 28 Member States of the European Union plus Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Turkey. The Mechanism is open to candidate countries and also cooperates with other regional organisations and third countries.

The Mechanism can be activated in response to any type of natural or man-made disaster, such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires, industrial accidents, marine pollution or terrorist attacks.

The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improving prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.

EU and neighbouring countries are periodically affected by natural and man-made disasters. The primary responsibility for dealing with the immediate effects of a disaster lies with the country where it has occurred. Nevertheless, when the scale of the emergency overwhelms national response capabilities, a disaster-stricken country can benefit from civil protection means or teams in other EU countries. This also applies to countries outside the EU - any country in the world can call on the European Civil Protection Mechanism for assistance.

By pooling the civil protection capabilities of the participating states, the Mechanism can ensure better protection, primarily of people, but also of the natural and cultural environment, and property.