EU Council to Increase Preparedness Against Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Threats
The European Council has today approved conclusions on strengthening whole-of-society resilience in the context of civil protection, including preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
A statement released from the Council states that in light of the increasing number of complex, long-lasting crises that Europe is facing – from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and earthquakes to COVID-19 and wildfires – it is necessary to boost the EU’s resilience. According to the statement, this requires a collective, whole-of-society approach and must involve civil society actors, citizens and the private sector.
Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the threat landscape in Europe has changed and significantly heightened the risk of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.
Gunnar Strömmer, Swedish Minister for Justice said, ‘The threat landscape in Europe has changed and become more complex. The preparedness of European societies in light of the various risks we are facing is essential and there is a key role to play for civil protection to enhance our resilience. I welcome that the ministers today approved conclusions on strengthening whole-of-society resilience in the context of civil protection.’
The Council is inviting members to:
- support prevention and preparedness actions by promoting the implementation of (non-binding) Disaster Resilience Goals
- consider the further development of public-private cooperation practices that enhance civil protection activities in prevention, preparedness and response
- actively participate in new awareness and preparedness initiatives at EU level
- offer and register further CBRN-relevant capacities into the European Civil Protection Pool (ECPP)
- enhance cooperation in the Council to support coordination on communication and information actions both in preparedness for and response to possible CBRN incidents
In turn, in order to mitigate the CBRN-threats the EU is facing, member states are asking the Commission to:
- enhance the capability of CBRN early warning, to ensure an effective and timely response
- explore possibilities to facilitate member states’ procurement of CBRN equipment and identify ways to further reduce capacity deployment times in the event of CBRN incidents
- increase market access to different kinds of CBRN-relevant equipment, supplies and material by providing long-term purchase predictability
- arrange more regular civil protection CBRN trainings and exercises
The EU civil protection mechanism coordinates the response to disasters at EU level. The mechanism includes a European civil protection pool. This is a voluntary pool of assets pre-committed by member states for immediate deployment inside or outside the EU.
In 2019, the EU established the rescEU reserve which – among other things – consists of detection, decontamination and stockpiling capacities to respond to chemical biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.
In response to Russia’s military aggression, the EU is coordinating the largest EU civil protection mechanism operation to date. Is has deployed its strategic rescEU reserves, coordinates medical evacuations of Ukrainian patients and supports refugees from Ukraine across Europe.
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