Coping in a Crisis - Europe's Civil Protection Strategy
All European countries have a national civil protection plan in place to respond
to disasters both at home and abroad. Historically, in the case of emergencies
abroad, assistance from individual EU countries to states asking for help has
tended to be bi-lateral.
But in 2001, the system changed when Europe’s approach to civil protection
entered a brand new era. EU governments agreed to set up a mechanism that would
allow them to pool their disaster relief resources, thereby creating one of
the most comprehensive civil protection systems in the world. At the heart
of this new, co-ordinated system is the Monitoring and Information Centre,
from which global emergencies are managed.
Based in Brussels and staffed round the clock, MIC is on stand-by 365 days
a year to put together teams of experts from all over the EU, who have trained
together regularly, to rush to disaster zones within hours of a request for
help. The system will never stop disasters happening. But when they do, Europe
is on call to make sure that the right equipment and expertise reaches those
in need as fast as possible.