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Report on preparedness for possible emergencies (2002)
To present the progress achieved in implementing the programme relating to preparedness, detection and intervention to reduce the consequences of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats.
Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 11 June 2002 entitled "Civil protection - progress made in implementing the programme for preparedness for possible emergencies [COM(2002) 302 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
In the context of the communication relating to alert against emergencies, the Commission undertook to improve cooperation with and between the Member States on the evaluation of risks, alerts and intervention and the storage of means to cope in the event of terrorist attacks and other possible emergencies (such as nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats or attacks). This communication reviews the progress made in this area as well as the synergies developed between the civil protection coordination mechanism and activities in the fields of pharmaceutics, health and research.
With regard to civil protection, the programme is focused on the following aspects:
Teams of experts for coordination and intervention: common selection criteria have been defined with a view to identifying available expertise. The Commission now has a list of resources in terms of experts with the necessary qualifications who are available in the Member States.
A register was compiled of the intervention teams and means available in the Member States.
Training and exercises for the intervention teams: a programme of special training was adopted. The first training courses aim to find compatibility and complementarity between the different teams. Simulation exercises will be carried out at the end of 2002 in order to test the response capacity of the Member States and also to validate and adapt response methods. A programme for exchanging experts will also be set up.
Emergency communication and information systems: the technological aspects and security measures of the communication network were adopted. Provision was made for interlinking the communication network with other existing networks. The Commission launched a call for proposals with a view to testing and validating communication between the operational centres.
The Monitoring and Information Centre: this centre, whose work is based on the Member States' round-the-clock network of contacts, was set up by the Commission in order to ensure uninterrupted links with the civil protection centres of the Member States. The number of staff for this Centre was increased.
The network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the European Union was further developed.
A programme for preparedness and response capacity in the event of attacks involving biological and chemical agents was set up.
Cooperation with third countries and international organisations was developed in the framework of health protection. For example, the Global Health Security Action Group was set up. It enables an exchange of information on health intervention, monitoring of diseases, the contamination of water and food chains, and also on the supply and storage of medicines. With regard to bioterrorism, the Commission is also cooperating with the World Health Organisation.
Action taken in the pharmaceutical field will provide the civil protection mechanism with the resources required (vaccines, medicines, etc.) in the fight against bioterrorism. A system for coordinating pharmaceutical distribution networks throughout the European Union could be developed.
Significant progress has been made with regard to the fight against nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats thanks to the different research activities and working groups which have been set up. The European Union's Joint Research Centre is involved in this work.