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Protection of citizens in the event of a terrorist attack: Commission announces large-scale European simulation exercise (EURATOX 2002)

Commission Européenne - IP/02/1498   16/10/2002

Autres langues disponibles: FR DE

IP/02/1498

Brussels, 16 October 2002

Protection of citizens in the event of a terrorist attack: Commission announces large-scale European simulation exercise (EURATOX 2002)

The first European Community Civil Protection exercise is scheduled to take place on 27 - 28 October 2002 in France (Var) at the camp of Canjuers. Euratox 2002 will be a simulation exercise involving radiological and chemical fall-out resulting from a terrorist attack. Margot Wallström, Commissioner for the Environment and Civil Protection Coordination, and the French Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy will be on-site and will hold a press conference late morning on Monday 28 October.

Organised under the aegis of the European Commission, the objective of Euratox 2002 is two fold: to test the aid control channels in the Member States when faced with a major terrorist attack and to activate the European Civil Protection via the Monitoring and Information Centre of the Commission in Brussels, by requesting assistance from other Member States.

Following the tragic event of the 11th of September 2001, the European Commission considers that conducting exercises in this framework, in particular for CBRN sectors (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological and Chemical) is paramount. This first field exercise will implement the objectives described by the Commission in its Communications of 28 November 2001(1) and 11 June 2002(2).

Margot WALLSTRÖM, European Commissioner in charge of Civil Protection co-ordination has clearly indicated her will to reinforce the Community response capacity in the field of Civil Protection. She declared : "This simulation of a terrorist attack will test the EU's reinforced civil protection capabilities on the ground. The latest events in Bali have tragically illustrated the importance of preparedness in dealing with terrorist attacks. Solidarity between Member States and effective co-ordination of EU intervention teams through the Commission's newly created Monitoring and Information Centre provide the EU with a strong basis. It allows for a swift and effective response to protect citizens in the wake of a large scale terrorist attack in Europe."

This on-site exercise will effectively complete the operational methods tested during the simulation exercise "Common Cause 2002" which will take place on 17 - 18 October between the Monitoring and Information Centre of the Commission and 5 member states of the Union (Denmark, United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium and Italy). This exercise will validate some national contingency planning and test the operational procedures implemented in Member States and the Monitoring and Information Centre of the Commission

The scenario for Euratox 2002 is the treatment and evacuation of victims during a terrorist attack at a large sports event. This will involve 200 wounded on-site. A further 2000 victims will require assistance at a European level.

The Prefecture of the Var will oversee operations and the French national civil protection services will play the part as if it were for real. The scope and content of such an exercise brings many actors into play, such as Civil Protection, Health, Justice and Military services.

The aim is to test the effectiveness of the Community Mechanism for co-operation in the framework of Civil Protection assistance. Therefore, in addition to the French contribution, teams from five other European countries will be activated via the Monitoring and Information Centre of the Commission. These will be from Austria, Spain, Greece, Italy and Sweden. Each will provide assistance of 10 to 30 intervention experts, with proven experience in the field of combating CBRN effects.

Finally, more than 800 lifesavers will be involved in the exercise, including national, regional and European operational civil protection centres.

A group of 60 official observers from the European Union will also take part. Invited by the Commission, their aim is primarily to observe but also to improve Community response methods when faced with new threats in the field of terrorism.

This exercise is open to the press, providing they obtain official accreditation from the French organisation. An on-site press conference will be given early afternoon on Sunday 27 October.

The Euratox file is available on- line at the following address:

http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/rubriques/c/c5_defense_secu_civil/

For further information and practical details please contact:

General Organisation Ministère de L'Intérieur, de la Sécurité intérieure et des Libertés locales Direction de la Défense et de la Sécurité civiles - Cellule Communication : André BENKEMOUN ou Olivier DELPLACE

Tél. : + 33 (0)1 56 04 74 18 - ddsc-presse@interieur.gouv.fr

European Commission Civil Protection and Environmental Accidents Unit - Civil Protection Co-operation Mechanism Co-ordinator - Directorate-General for Environment - European Commission Tél. : (32 2) 299 22 49 - www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/civil/index.htm

(1) COM (2001)707 final. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Civil Protection - State of preventive alert against possible emergencies.

(2) COM(2002) 302 final. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Civil Protection Progress made in implementing the programme for preparedness for possible emergencies


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