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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article17 January 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)3 min read

rescEU: Commission creates first ever chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear strategic reserve in Finland

2 persons unloading goods from a truck
© Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V., 2023.

The Commission is allocating today €242 million to Finland for the development of the first rescEU chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) strategic reserve.

The Commission has already set up rescEU reserves for different areas across other EU Member States, such as the rescEU forest fighting airfleet (Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Sweden in 2022) and the rescEU medical stockpile of protective equipment and devices (Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and The Netherlands).

The CBRN strategic reserve is part of the development of an EU-level stockpiling approach of medical countermeasures to be used in health emergencies. It is established in the framework of the strengthened EU Civil Protection Mechanism and further elaborated with the health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has confirmed the need to strengthen EU CBRN preparedness. That is why, the rescEU CBRN reserves will provide the EU with a significant safety net enabling a quick and coordinated response at EU level. I would like to congratulate Finland for being the first Member State to develop a CBRN strategic reserve through rescEU,” said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Established in close collaboration with the Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), today's creation of the first CBRN stockpile through rescEU is an essential element in our work to prepare and strengthen health security in the EU. With HERA as our watchtower, we continue building a strong European Health Union and work together to support EU actions through the Civil Protection Mechanism to prepare against health threats and respond to health emergencies.” 

This new reserve is the first dedicated to CBRN equipment. It will include critical medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and antidotes, medical devices and field response equipment to ensure better protection and response in the aftermath of CBRN events or in preparation for high-risk situations.

Funding will also be used to train staff. The goal is to strengthen CBRN expertise in Europe and ensure that capabilities and response teams are interoperable and can be deployed anywhere across the continent.

The rescEU reserves are 100% EU-financed and the European Commission maintains control of their operation in close cooperation with the countries hosting the reserves.

In an emergency, the rescEU reserves provide assistance to all EU Member States, participating states of the Civil Protection Mechanism, and can also be deployed to EU neighbouring countries.   

Latest EU rescEU support

Amidst Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU has provided Ukraine with CBRN and medical assistance worth more than €50 million, including:

  • medical countermeasures (antidotes, potassium iodide tablets, bronchodilators, and other therapeutics)
  • medical devices (oxygen concentrators and other intensive care unit equipment)
  • and response equipment (e.g., decontamination, personal protective equipment, and chemical detectors).

Last week, the EU also mobilised its rescEU medical reserves to support Ukraine.

Medical stocks hosted by Greece, Germany, and Sweden are currently being deployed to provide life-saving aid to Ukraine. The supplies, valued at over €13 million, include medicines, medical equipment, and protective gear including against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.


Extreme weather conditions and emerging threats, such as COVID-19, but also chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents can overwhelm the ability of EU Member States to help each other. This is especially important when several European countries face the same type of disaster simultaneously.

Following the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, rescEU provides an extra layer of protection and ensures a faster and more comprehensive response to disasters.

2022 saw more than 40 rescEU deployments (wildfires, mpox, and war in Ukraine) and the ramp-up of existing strategic reserves. This was done so that medical and CBRN assistance could be provided to Ukraine swiftly and additional emergency accommodation and power supplies could be accessible in the shape of shelters, generators, transformers and many more components.