Photo: Ministry of Interior
The 40th meeting of the Directors-General for Civil Protection of the EU, of the European Economic Area and of the Candidate Countries was held on 31 May and 1 June in Sofia. Representatives of the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU also took part in the meeting.
“The boundaries between internal and external disasters are increasingly blurring, which requires a complex approach both at national and at European level. For this reason we need concerted measures for prevention, preparedness and disaster risk reduction, as well as integration of the different EU policies and instruments in these areas”,
said in his welcome address the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Stefan Balabanov. In this context, he emphasised the particular importance of the balance between national responsibility and European solidarity.
Ms. Monique Pariat, Director General of DG European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, informed on the state of play of the ongoing discussions on the Commission's set of proposals aimed at upgrading the Member States' disaster response systems by establishing a dedicated reserve of operational capacities at Union level - rescEU. She assessed highly the active work of the Bulgarian Presidency on the dossier, aimed at finding a solution, which is acceptable for all Member States, and expressed confidence that a general approach will be reached within the Council by the end of the Bulgaria’s term of office. Member States also assessed highly the work of the Presidency aiming to achieve compromise and underlined the substantial progress that is achieved. At the same time, they emphasised that certain elements of the proposal need to be carefully discussed and appealed the time aspects not to interfere the quality of the legislation.
The strategy for cooperation with the neighbourhood and enlargement countries, the national developments in the disaster protection policies and enhancing disaster response capacity were also in focus of the discussions. In view of the 2018 forest fire season, the participants presented the coordinated measures and planned actions at local level for prevention, preparedness, and risk planning and management.