THE EU PROMETHEUS 2014 PROJECT: an EU Civil Protection Mechanism Exercise


The main role of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection is to facilitate co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions in the event of major emergencies which may require urgent response actions. This applies also to situations where there may be an imminent threat of such major emergencies. It is therefore a tool that enhances community co-operation in civil protection matters and was established by the Council Decision of 23 October 2001 . A Recast of this Council Decision was adopted on 8 November 2007.

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, it can provide added-value to European civil protection assistance by making support available on request of the affected country. This may arise if the affected country’s preparedness for a disaster is not sufficient to provide an adequate response in terms of available resources. By pooling the civil protection capabilities of the participating states, the Community Mechanism can ensure even better protection primarily of people, but also of the natural and cultural environment as well as property.

So as to enable and ensure an effective delivery of assistance, teams working in emergencies need to be mobilized rapidly. Moreover their work needs to be well co-ordinated while requiring flexibility. In order to achieve this, the Mechanism has its own tools that help to ensure this.

EU Civil Protection Exercises organized at EU level are designed primarily as field tests aiming to establish a common understanding of co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions and to accelerate the response to major emergencies. These exercises provide a learning opportunity for all actors involved in operations under the Mechanism and enhance operational co-operation between them.

Contingency planning, decision-making procedures, provision of information to the public and the media can also be tested and rehearsed during these events, so as to be better prepared for similar real-life situations. Moreover, exercises can help supervisors identify further training needs for their staff involved in operations, while lessons-learned workshops organized in parallel can serve as a forum to identify operational gaps to be improved.

Exercises at EU-level are organized by the participant states with co-financing from the Commission. A call for proposals for exercises is published each year.