Civil Protection: Faster EU response to large-scale emergencies

  • Improved prevention, preparedness and response to disasters in Europe and beyond 
  • Reinforced EU resilience and solidarity 
  • EU civil protection funds five times larger than for previous seven years 

Parliament adopted a strengthened EU legal framework for civil protection, in response to the unprecedented experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MEPs approved the reformed EU Civil Protection Mechanism Tuesday with 641 votes in favour, 44 against and 14 abstentions. The mechanism aims to ensure the EU and its member states will be better prepared to respond to large-scale disasters, especially when these affect several countries simultaneously.

In order to deploy crisis relief more swiftly, the Commission will be able to acquire directly, under specific conditions, the necessary resources via the rescEU reserve.

1.263 billion EUR will be allocated to the Mechanism for 2021-2027, supplemented by 2.056 billion EUR from the EU Recovery Instrument (approximately five times more than the previous seven-year budget).

During the plenary debate on Monday, MEPs acknowledged the key role the civil protection mechanism played during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its position as a symbol of EU solidarity. They underlined that the adjustments approved in Plenary will bring more flexibility, better coordination and more resources channelled towards tackling future large-scale emergencies.


The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) was set up in 2013 as a voluntary system to help member states deal with increasingly frequent natural disasters. Since 2019, when rescEU was created, the EU has been able to jointly procure resources to assist countries hit by disasters when national capacities are overstretched. A new strategic rescEU medical reserve, currently hosted by nine EU countries, allows the EU to react faster to crises.