The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has become the 32nd member of the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism which facilitates European cooperation in disaster response. This brings the country into a community of European nations which work together for better prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. The European Commission supports the Mechanism through its Monitoring and Information Centre.
“I am pleased to welcome the latest participant in the Mechanism. The number and complexity of disasters is on the rise everywhere; the current harsh winter reminds us that Europe is no exception to this trend. So there is clear value in coordinating our efforts to protect civilians and to respond better to natural and man-made disasters,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
Joining the EU Civil Protection Mechanism connects a country to a Europe-wide disaster management network and gives it access to a pool of resources for dealing with a wide spectrum of disasters. Candidate countries can enjoy the benefits of full participation in the Mechanism even before joining the EU. Croatia participates since September 2009.
The Mechanism’s Participating States benefit from the exchange of knowledge, best practices and flows of information when responding to major emergencies in Europe and elsewhere. With coordination from the Commission, they help each other and other countries in disaster response. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has already benefitted from this cooperation in the summer of 2007, when it requested assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to cope with the outbreak of forest fires.
From now on the country is also eligible to apply for EU financial support for transportation of assistance and to participate in EU training programmes and exercises.
The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 32 European states (EU-27 plus Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC).
Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Member States (like the floods in the Balkans in 2010 and the explosion at a naval base in Cyprus in 2011) but also worldwide, including after the recent earthquakes in Japan and Turkey.
Candidate countries are eligible to join the Civil Protection Mechanism by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. They can also benefit from pre-accession regional cooperation programmes (IPA) aiming to enhance their disaster management capacities and to support their approximation to the EU activities in the field of civil protection.