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Brussels, 8 June 2012
Eurobarometer survey shows strong support for coordinated EU action in dealing with disasters
The Special Eurobarometer 383 on Civil Protection was conducted in face-to-face interviews among some 26.751 respondents in the 27 Member States of the European Union. The survey took place between February and March 2012 and looked at four core themes:
EU citizens express a high level of concern about man-made and natural disasters.
75% said they are concerned about man-made disasters such as oil spills and nuclear accidents. Floods and earthquakes comes next with 67%, while 64% of respondents say they are most concerned about terrorist attacks and 59% about armed conflicts.
The majority (84%) agree that EU Member States should be obliged by law to prepare and publish disaster management plans.
Opinions are fairly consistent across the EU, with at least 75% of those surveyed in each country agreeing that EU Member States should be obliged by law to prepare and publish disaster management plans. Respondents in Luxembourg, Malta and Slovakia are most likely to agree (91% in each case).
92% agree that not all countries have sufficient national means to deal with a major disaster on their own.
Respondents in Cyprus, Sweden, Denmark and Germany are most likely to agree with this statement.
89% agree that the EU needs a civil protection policy because major disasters can have cross-border effects. Since the last survey in 2009, the overall support has increased by 4 percentage points.
The same proportion (89%) agree that the EU should help any non-EU country worldwide hit by disasters by co-ordinating the sending of experts and equipment to affected areas.
In Cyprus there is the highest proportion of respondents (96%) who agree that a co-ordinated EU action in dealing with disasters is more effective than actions by individual countries. A high level of agreement is also found in Greece (91% agree) and Belgium (88% agree), while there are relatively high levels of disagreement in Finland (19%), Netherlands (18%), and Austria (17%).
38% are aware of the EU’s co-ordination role of civil protection actions inside and outside the EU
The figures for many countries are similar to the EU27 average of 38%. Respondents are most likely to say they are aware of EU co-ordination of civil protection both inside and outside the EU in Malta (56%), Belgium (51%), Lithuania (50%) and Cyprus (49%). Stated awareness is lowest in Sweden (20%), Denmark (23%) and Czech Republic (23%).
There is high level of concern about various natural and man-made disasters among the citizens of the EU.
There is a strong support for the civil protection activities to be coordinated across the EU. About nine out of ten EU citizens agree that the EU should play an important role in coordinating these activities.
A vast majority agrees that a coordinated approach is more effective than actions by individual countries.
Overall, the results show a high level of solidarity with victims of natural and man-made disasters outside the EU. Nine out of ten agree that the EU should help any non-EU country worldwide hit by disasters.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism
When the scale of a disaster overwhelms national response capabilities, a country hit by a disaster can benefit from civil protection resources or teams from other countries. One of the main roles of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to support and facilitate the provision of assistance offered to the affected country by the EU Member States and other participating countries in the Mechanism. Assistance can include search and rescue teams, medical teams, shelter, water purification units and other relief items requested.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is made up of 32 states (27 EU Member States plus Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) which co-operate in the field of civil protection when major natural or man-made disasters occur both inside and outside the EU.
The delivery of European civil protection assistance is coordinated by the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The MIC is currently being transformed into the European Emergency Response Centre.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism also supports the Member States in preparing for and avoiding disasters through awareness raising, organization of trainings, simulation exercises and exchange of experts.
For further information:
Link to the full report: