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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article30 May 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Commission hosts meeting of European ministers to discuss chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear preparedness

View off the back of a person wearing a vest with the EU Civil Protection logo
© European Union, 2022 (photographer: Dan Gutu)

Ministers responsible for civil defence in EU Member States and Participating States in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism are meeting today in Brussels for an informal ministerial-level coordination meeting on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) preparedness. The meeting is co-hosted by the Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Swedish Minister for Civil Defence, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, on behalf of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: "Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine presents Europe with the most serious security situation since World War II. The robust nature of the EU’s response to date reflects this. Besides equipping first responders, facilitating humanitarian operations, and helping to sustain and rebuild Ukraine’s energy sector, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is being applied to help Ukraine, as well as other European countries, to prepare for the real possibility of major incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material.”

In February 2022, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated to support Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion. Since then, the Mechanism has channeled unprecedented amounts of critical support provided by EU Member States, participating states and, for the first time ever, private-sector actors.

The total amount sent exceeds 90,000 tonnes at an overall financial value of over €650 million. To help the country prepare for CBRN incidents specifically, this support included assets like chemical detectors, potassium iodide tablets, therapeutics, dosimeters, radiometers, spectrometers, protection suits, and different types of masks to Ukrainian authorities.

In addition, over €53 million worth of CBRN countermeasures and response equipment from the rescEU reserves have been mobilised. This includes potassium iodide tablets, protection suits, antidotes, therapeutics, decontamination means and reagents, respirators, detection devices, and medical equipment.

The ministerial meeting today aims to facilitate a high-level, strategic discussion around how to further strengthen Union-level CBRN preparedness as well as support both Ukraine and other countries that could be affected.