The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) has successfully supported member states to save lives, including during the COVID-19 crisis, by coordinating and assisting in civil protection efforts. Medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, vaccines and therapeutics and laboratory supplies have also been procured through rescEU to support national health services during the pandemic. Just this week, it was used to channel further aid to refugees on Lesvos, following the fire in Moria refugee camp. 

However, the pandemic has also shown that, when many member states are hit simultaneously by the same emergency, the way the current crisis management is set up has its limits. Parliament therefore wants to strengthen the EU’s role through the rescEU to ensure that member states are not left to rely on own assets and voluntary support when dealing with such emergencies. 

More and transparent EU funding needed 

In ongoing EU budget and recovery fund negotiations, Parliament has supported the significant increase in the budget proposed by the Commission. 

Parliament, however, wants a significantly larger amount to be allocated to preparedness, including for the purchase of necessary new rescEU equipment, materials and resources to be better able to assist member states when national capacities are overstretched. This would make it possible to respond swiftly and effectively to large-scale emergencies or to events which rarely occur but which have a high impact, including medical emergencies such as COVID-19. 

To be more transparent about the use of EU funding, MEPs also want to specify how money is allocated across the three pillars of the mechanism: prevention, preparedness and response. 

You can watch the video from the debate here.