brussels - A common reserve pool of, for example, firefighting aircraft, boats, water pumps, medical and technical teams should help to combat natural disasters in Europe more quickly. The European Commission proposes setting up such a pool because Europe is increasingly dealing with forest fires, earthquakes and floods. Affected member states often can not do that anymore.
According to EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides (Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management), the tragedies of recent years, such as the earthquakes in Italy and forest fires in Portugal, prove that voluntary assistance from other countries is no longer sufficient. Currently, Member States that do not have sufficient equipment or manpower can use the so-called European civil protection mechanism. Through a coordination center in Brussels, other member states can offer people and equipment on a voluntary basis. Transport costs are largely reimbursed by Brussels. ' But this set-up has reached its limits. '
The commission now wants to set up a permanent European reserve capacity called rescEU, which is fully funded by the EU, including repairs and operational costs in the event of a disaster. The commission determines which equipment or which assistance teams are deployed. The Netherlands already has water pumps and expert teams on offer. 'It is a matter of solidarity and shared responsibility', says Stylianides.
This year, two hundred Europeans lost their lives due to a natural disaster. The economic damage is in the hundreds of millions. For example, the forest fires in Portugal have caused an estimated 600 million euros of damage this summer. Spain came to the rescue through the existing, voluntary mechanism.
The committee wants RescEU to become operational in the EU plus Iceland, Norway, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey, as a sign of European solidarity.