eu2012: Civil protection and nuclear security and safety
Enhanced cooperation on European disaster response The Danish EU presidency 2012 will have a focus on a safe Europe. Among other things, this will come into effect through a reinforcement of the European disaster response arrangements. Natural and man-made disasters, such as forest fires, earthquakes, flooding and terrorist attacks, have an increasing impact on the security and safety of the population. This demands a further development of the effort of the Union in the field of prevention and handling of disasters. The Danish presidency will work for a focused reinforcement and improvement of the EU civil protection instruments.
As indicated in the Danish focus areas within the cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), through the European disaster response system the EU will offer assistance in solidarity to nations afflicted by emergencies and disasters, within Europe as well as outside. Among other things, the Danish presidency will work for a systematic lessons learnt system. This will enable an even more precise targeting to today’s needs in the development of the European disaster response system.
Cooperation on civil protection
Denmark (Ministry of Defence) participates in the daily cooperation within the area of civil protection, i.e. protection of the populations in case of natural or man-made disasters. Civil protection is a national concern, meaning that the member states are the main responsible for the protection of their own populations against disasters, whereas the Union can support, coordinate or supplement actions of the member states.
Within the area of civil protection, dossiers are being treated, such as the European disaster response system, the development of the CBRN area (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear), and also the protection of European critical infrastructure. The civil protection cooperation is also operative, which has been demonstrated in connection with concrete emergency efforts, such as in Japan in March 2011 and in Haiti in 2010.
The EU cooperation on civil protection began in the 1980’s and has been intensified in the following decade. The first operative legal act from 1991 was extended in 2001 with the adoption of the Civil Protection Community Mechanism. The European terrorist bombings in Madrid 2004 and later in London 2005, as well as the tsunami, the recurrent forest fires, the flooding, and the earthquakes, have further intensified the cooperation with the adoption of the Unions civil protection agreement (recast) from 2007. Civil protection is mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty (2009) with an individual article (Art. 196), according to which the Union may support and supplement actions of the member states.
Danish working program for the civil protection area
The working program of the Danish presidency describes the tasks and priorities of the Danish presidency in 2012.
Furthermore, a working program has been drafted for the various fields
, including the field of civil protection. The working program on civil protection is mainly a follow-up on the anticipated initiatives (legislation, reports etc.), which will be presented by the different Directorates General of the Commission during the first six months of 2012. In the field of civil protection the program deals with initiatives and measures by the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the EU Commission (DG ECHO), and the Directorate General for Home Affairs of the EU Commission (DG Home).
During the Danish presidency, the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) will be planning and implementing a series of activities in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, the EU Commission and other actors.
A description of the overall cooperation and news regarding the Danish EU presidency 2012 can be found on eu2012.dk.
Press spokespersons for the various fields are listed in the “Who is who” of the presidency.
During the presidency the Ministry of Defence will be responsible for conducting the negotiations in the field of civil protection as well as conducting the work on nuclear security. The negotiations will take place in the Council working party on civil protection (PROCIV), and in the Council Ad-hoc working party on nuclear security (AHGNS).
The work of the Council on nuclear security
The work with stress tests of the European nuclear power plants has been initiated as a result of the events in Fukushima in March 2011, when a Japanese nuclear plant experienced a reactor meltdown as a result of an earthquake followed by a tsunami. Based on these events, the EU member states (the Council) decided that a stress test of all European nuclear power plants.
The stress test is divided into a safety part and a security part for nuclear power plants. The report on safety is drafted by the nuclear inspection authorities of the member states (ENSREG), whereas the Council has set up an ad-hoc working group to draft a report on the security part. The ad-hoc working group was set up in July 2011, and is set to conclude its work in June 2012 with a common safety-security report to the European Council.