Civil protection

In India, mobilization of the EU "civil protection" mechanism

(BRUSSELS2) Following the terrorist attacks in Bombay in India, the community civil protection mechanism was activated, allowing in particular certain EU Member States (France and Sweden), having dispatched a plane to India, to evacuate injured people from other nationalities (United Kingdom and Spain), specified the European Commission in a press release.

A Swedish plane. Thus, an SAS plane and the medical team from the Swedish emergency services agency, made available by Sweden, made it possible to evacuate five injured people to London on Monday, including two seriously injured and one suffering from psychological trauma. . The Swedish plan was mobilized over the weekend, in collaboration with two experts (from France and Sweden) hired by the Community Civil Protection Mechanism to help coordinate the operation. Commission officials from the EC Delegation in India facilitated cooperation between Member States' consulates in Mumbai to help identify European citizens who need medical evacuation. And the medical evacuation costs were co-financed by the community budget, according to the terms of an arrangement concluded in 2007.

And a French plane. As for the plane chartered by the French government, it repatriated to Paris on Saturday 77 survivors, including 29 French, 19 Italians, 17 Spaniards, 5 Germans, a Pole, a Greek, a Dutchman, a Swiss, as well as a Kazakh, an Algerian and a Congolese (for a more detailed report of the French operation). Note that Austria and Greece had also made an offer of resources, which were not subsequently useful.

Good but can do better? Nevertheless – I reiterate my previous position… – this mechanism is far from sufficient. It allows the transmission of information between States but not real “crisis regulation” and above all the necessary anticipation. Certain Member States seemed, in fact, still reluctant – before the Indian crisis – to approve the common concept of evacuation of citizens European Unions, resorting to military means if necessary, prepared by the European Union Military Staff. That is to say, to determine – geographical area by geographical area – the available means of evacuation that each State can implement, and possibly the “framework nation” responsible for carrying out the operation.

The principle of strengthening approved at the European Summit? Hervé Morin, the French defense minister, recalled this on Tuesday before MEPs in the Affairs Committee.
of the European Parliament: “It’s not about creating a new structure. But to coordinate national crisis centers, transport, exchange and information of national plans; and to have evacuation planning: a point of contact per country and a lead country per area concerned.” The French presidency hopes to have the principle of such a plan approved at the next European summit...


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).