The FINANCIAL — There is a strong consensus among the citizens of the European Union that civil protection activities should be coordinated across the EU.
Europeans also believe that countries should be able to seek help from others when a disaster strikes, according to European Commission.
Nearly nine in ten (88%) EU citizens support the EU-wide civil protection policy because of the cross-border nature of many disasters. Nearly the same number (87%) are supportive of the EU helping any country in the world affected by a disaster. An overwhelming majority (90%) also says that they would expect help from other EU countries if a disaster was about to happen in their country.
“European citizens agree that coordinated EU action in dealing with disasters is more effective than having any country acting alone. Civil Protection is about assisting and protecting citizens when a disaster hits. The consequences of a disaster often affect many countries at once. We are determined to continue working together to further develop prevention and preparedness,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management on the occasion of the European Civil Protection Forum, in Brussels.
Only 37% of the poll participants believe that their countries have sufficient means to deal with major disasters while 80% say that coordinated EU action would be more effective than actions undertaken by individual countries.
There is a widespread concern (77%) amongst EU citizens about the potential economic impact of man-made and natural disasters in their respective regions.
The level of awareness and information on disaster risks is low: only 55% of respondents say that they are aware of these risks in their region.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates co-operation in disaster response, preparedness, and prevention among 32 European states (EU-28 plus the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway and Montenegro). With the support of the Commission, the participating states 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.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism offers joint trainings and exercises,exchange of experts, disaster prevention and preparedness projects, direct communication among the civil protection authorities of the members during emergency response, information exchange, coordinated EU relief operations and transport co-funding.