A significant European initiative has been the establishment of the European Civil Protection Mechanism for the coordination of the Civil Protection interventions in cases of disasters. The legislative framework for the assistance offered was defined by a Council Decision in 2001 (Decision 2001/792), establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in Civil Protection assistance interventions within and outside the EU. The Mechanism has been reinforced ever since and accepting all the more calls for assistance.
After the evaluation of the Mechanism’s actions, it was found out that there was a need to revise its legal framework. On 8.11.2007 the Council Decision 2007/779/EC was issued and amended the previous one.
According to the new Decision, the Mechanism’s aim is to enhance the cooperation of Member States, in the event of natural and man-made disasters, acts of terrorism and, technological, radiological or environmental accidents, including accidental marine pollution at peaceful times.
Every country that is afflicted by major disasters can call for assistance and mobilize operational means that have been voluntarily provided to the EU by the countries of the Mechanism. Its participating countries are 31 countries; 27 Member States and the (3) countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Croatia.
The Mechanism’s function is mainly supported by:
- The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) in Brussels
- The Common Emergency Communication and Information System
- The databases (Intervention Teams, Civil Protection Modules, Technical Support Modules) with the available resources
- The Training Programme and the “EU Exchange of Experts” Programme
CECIS is connecting the General Secretariat for Civil Protection with MIC. The Civil Protection Operations Centre is the contact point of Greece with the European Civil Protection Mechanism.