Skip to main content

Emergencies: EC Action

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he has had discussions with his counterparts in other European Union countries on proposals for an EU-wide civil protection rapid reaction force; and if he will make a statement. (248675)

The UK supports the principle of member states cooperating voluntarily in the response to disasters but not the creation of a stand-by European civil protection force. Such a force would require pre-commitment of member states' resources and would go beyond the current legal framework of the Community's Civil Protection Mechanism. The current voluntary approach to mutual assistance among European Union member states is more cost-effective and flexible than a standing EU-wide civil protection force; and it allows member states to provide urgent assistance bilaterally or as part of regional groupings.

My officials have been closely involved in discussions with their European counterparts and have kept me informed on developments. These issues have also been discussed at a ministerial level in the Justice and Home Affairs Council and the General Affairs and External Relations Council.