Emergencies, especially those caused by natural disasters, are inevitable. In moments such as these, the biggest role is played by the community we are a part of and its preparedness and ability to manage emergencies. Through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Union has ensured that community as a whole is always ready to respond to all types of emergencies. The purpose of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen the cooperation between the Member States, 6 other beneficiary countries and the United Kingdom in the field of civil protection with an emphasis on disaster prevention, preparedness and response.
It is extremely important in times of crisis to respond in a coordinated manner and communicate with the national authorities through a single point of contact instead of several different channels. Emergencies, catastrophes and disasters can affect several countries at once and when the affected country is not able to solve the problem without help, it can ask for help through the Mechanism.
Upgrading the Union Civil Protection Mechanism
In 2019 the European Union strengthened its risk management and upgraded the Mechanism with the rescEU system which has a goal to protect citizens from disasters and manage emergencies. Furthermore, one of the most important segments is the “rescEU reserve” which includes firefighting planes and helicopters, medical evacuation planes, supplies of medical equipment and field hospitals that can be used to respond to a variety of emergencies, from health to nuclear.
The European Union can respond better in emergencies caused by the coronavirus precisely because of these instruments. A strategic rescEU stock of medical equipment was prepared and distributed to Member States through the Mechanism. In addition to 370.000 already delivered protective masks, the European Union also delivered another 65.000 FFP2 masks to Croatia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia through the rescEU – the common European reserve of medical equipment for helping countries affected by the coronavirus epidemic. Romania played an important role of warehousing and transporting the rescEU equipment to those who needed it. Alongside Romania, Germany is also responsible for warehousing and transporting medical items from the reserve. The European Commission finances 100% of the procurement, maintenance and delivery costs. This kind of preparation enabled efficient communication and delivery and a faster response to the health crisis.
European solidarity in the fight against seasonal fires
When it comes to emergencies regarding seasonal fires, it is important to get ready in advance every year. The European Commission has co-financed the rescEU forest fire fleet, which is ready to respond in the event of potential shortcomings such as an insufficient number of firefighting aircraft for the size and severity of the wildfires. Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden have provided their 13 firefighting aircraft and 6 helicopters for disposal to all Member States in the event of emergencies, in exchange for a financial contribution equal to the incurred cost of capacities that are on hold. The rescEU firefighting fleet consists of 2 firefighting aircraft from Croatia, 2 aircraft from Cyprus, 1 aircraft from France, 2 aircraft from Greece, 2 aircraft from Italy, 2 aircraft from Spain, 2 aircraft and 6 firefighting helicopters from Sweden.
Brave pilots and planes ready to respond
In the period from 15th June to 31st October of 2020 the Croatian Air Force is ready to prevent or resolve emergencies caused by threatening seasonal fires. Two Canadair CL-415 planes from the “Colonel Mirko Vukušić” barracks in Zemunik
Croatia is ready to defend itself from fires, and also to help other Member States, because through solidarity we save one another.