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Commission Decision of 29 December 2003 laying down rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions (notified under document number C(2003) 5185) (Text with EEA relevance) (2004/277/EC, Euratom)

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U.K.

Commission Decision

of 29 December 2003

laying down rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions

(notified under document number C(2003) 5185)

(Text with EEA relevance)

(2004/277/EC, Euratom)

THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

Having regard to Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom of 23 October 2001 establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions(1), and in particular Article 8(2)(a) to (e) and (g) thereof,

Whereas:

(1) The Community mechanism established by Decision 2001/792/EC, hereinafter referred to as ‘the mechanism’, is intended to provide support in the event of major emergencies which may require urgent response action, including emergencies occurring within the context of crisis management referred to in Title V of the Treaty on European Union. In the event of the latter the Joint Declaration by the Council and the Commission on the use of the Community civil protection mechanism in crisis management referred to in Title V of the Treaty on European Union will be taken into account.

(2) The mechanism is intended to help ensure better protection primarily of people, but also of the environment and property, in the event of a major emergency, including accidental marine pollution, as provided for in Decision No 2850/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2000 setting up a Community framework for cooperation in the field of accidental or deliberate marine pollution(2).

(3) Participation in the Community mechanism is open to Member States, but should also be open to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the light of Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 135/2002 of 27 September 2002 amending Protocol 31 to the EEA Agreement on cooperation in specific fields outside the four freedoms(3). With regard to the candidate countries, participation should be open to those countries having signed a memorandum of understanding with the Commission.

(4) A procedure for the provision of up-to-date information on the resources available in the States participating in the mechanism for different types of interventions should be established, in order to facilitate, in the event of emergency, the mobilisation of intervention teams, experts and other resources and to ensure a better use of those resources.

(5) A monitoring and information centre should be established which should be accessible and able to react immediately 24 hours a day in order to serve the States participating in the mechanism and the Commission.

(6) The monitoring and information centre is an essential element of the mechanism because it ensures uninterrupted links with the civil protection operational contact points of the States participating in the mechanism. The monitoring and information centre should, in case of emergency, provide immediate access to essential information on experts, intervention teams and other intervention support available.

(7) A common emergency communication and information system (CECIS) should be established in order to enable communication and sharing information between the monitoring and information centre and the designated contact points.

(8) The CECIS is an essential element of the mechanism because it should guarantee the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of information exchanged among the States participating in the mechanism under routine conditions as well as in emergencies.

(9) The CECIS should be set up on the basis of a global implementation plan (GIP) as part of the PROCIV-NET project conducted and financed in the context of a programme for the interchange of data between administrations, the IDA programme as provided for in Decision No 1719/1999/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 July 1999 on a series of guidelines, including the identification of projects of common interest, for trans-European networks for the electronic interchange of data between administrations (IDA)(4), as last amended by Decision No 2046/2002/EC(5), and Decision No 1720/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 1999 adopting a series of actions and measures in order to ensure interoperability of and access to trans-European networks for the electronic interchange of data between administrations (IDA)(6), as last amended by Decision No 2045/2002/EC(7).

(10) The availability of experts capable of organising and coordinating intervention teams represents an important element of the Community mechanism. In order to enable an efficient selection of the experts required, it is essential to agree on common selection criteria

(11) The tasks of the experts should be defined and the procedure for dispatching them should be determined.

(12) A training programme should be set up, with a view to improving the coordination of civil protection assistance interventions by ensuring compatibility and complementarity between the intervention teams and by improving the competence of experts. The programme should include joint courses and exercises and an exchange system, combined with lectures, case studies, working groups, simulations, and practical exercises, appropriate to the content of each action. The setting up of such a training programme is also in the spirit of Council Resolution 2002/C 43/01 of 28 January on reinforcing cooperation in the field of civil protection training(8).

(13) In the framework of the Community mechanism, the definition of clear intervention rules is important to ensure efficient assistance in case of emergency.

(14) The measures provided for in this Decision are in accordance with the opinion of the Committee established pursuant to Article 4(1) of Council Decision 1999/847/EC(9),

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

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