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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
fst EU Civil protection pool
© European Union, 2021 (photographer: Žiga Živulovic)
European Civil Protection Pool

What is it?

The EU established the European Civil Protection Pool (ECPP) to advance European cooperation in civil protection. It aims to enable a faster, better-coordinated, and more effective European response to human-induced disasters and natural hazards. 

The Pool brings together resources from 27 Member States and Participating States, ready for deployment to a disaster zone at short notice. Each of these resources combine specialised staff and equipment necessary to respond to disasters. 

Why is this important?

Whenever a disaster strikes, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism may receive a request for assistance. That is when emergency response teams, technical equipment, and other resources must be deployed as soon as possible to support the response efforts. 

Being well prepared to intervene immediately in a disaster is crucial in saving lives and minimising damage. The European Civil Protection Pool allows for better-organised, more predictable and coherent EU operations. 

To this end, the European Commission has set up a certification and registration process. It ensures that capacities (e.g., emergency response teams and equipment) provided by EU Member States and Participating States meet high operational standards. 

Certification includes the participation of emergency teams in disaster simulation exercises so that their performance can be observed and assessed by a certifying team composed of peers and EU staff. The aim is to verify that they properly operate during international deployments. 

For the majority of response capacities, the European Commission oversees and funds the certification process with the support of national experts.

How are we helping?

As of March 2024, 27 Member States and Participating States have a valid offer for a total of 130 specialised response capacities to the European Civil Protection Pool. 

Out of these, 95 are certified and can be deployed for response operations in and outside the EU following a request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The European Commission provides financial support to capacities that are part of the Pool when they are deployed for response operations. These capacities range from mountain rescue teams to mobile laboratories, medical air evacuation, water purification equipment, etc. 

The Commission covers 75% of the transport and operational costs for deployments inside or outside Europe.

In addition, financial support is available for the upgrade or repair of response capacities committed to the Pool to strengthen disaster preparedness. 

EU co-financing in the form of “adaptation grants” can be granted for already existing capacities within one Member State or Participating State to ensure readiness for international deployment. 

Recent response operations using resources from the European Civil Protection Pool include:

Earthquake in Türkiye (2023)

On 6 February 2023, Türkiye was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The same day, the country activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) filing a request for Urban Search and Rescue as well as Emergency Medical Teams. 

Following the request, 12 UCPM Member States deployed a vast portfolio of capacities from the European Civil Protection Pool. The capacities were Urban Search and Rescue Teams and Emergency Medical Teams, which were brought to Türkiye. Additionally, a Technical Assistance Support Team was accompanied by an EU Civil Protection Team that coordinated the EU response in the country.

After the emergency response was closed, all ECPP teams were demobilised as of 17 February 2023 and returned to their bases.

Forest Fires in Chile (2023)

From 2 February several forest fires caused havoc 100km east of Santiago de Chile. The country called for assistance in containing the wildfires. 

As part of the European Civil Protection Pool, Spain deployed a Forest Fire Assessment Team (FFAT), and Italy provided Technical Assistance and Support Team to Chile. Both Portugal and France sent firefighters to the country to support firefighting operations in the country.

Italy Floods (2023)

In May 2023, several parts of Italy were stricken by severe flooding and landslides, following heightened amounts of rainfall in the area. On 20 May 2023, Italy activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism with a request for 4 high hapacity pumps. 

France, Slovenia, Belgium and Slovakia accepted Italy’s request for assistance and deployed High Capacity Pumping modules to Italy, sourced from the European Civil Protection Pool.

Canada Forest Fires (2023)

When several forest fires ravaged in Canada in May 2023, the country called for support to fight the blaze in the region. 

Responding to the request, France sent 109 firefighters on 8 June 2023 to the country. The team helped to extinguish 2 major fires in the size of 2,873 hectares and 26,749 hectares.

On 14 June, Portugal followed suit and relocated 30 firefighters as part of the European Civil Protection Pool to Canada. The firefighters protected a village, helping to contain and extinguish two major fires aggregating to 481,096 hectares and 7,918 hectares.

Both teams departed Canada and returned to their bases on 28 and 29 June, respectively.

Libya Floods (2023)

After heavy rains battered Libya in September 2023, severe floods affected the population in the region. 

France deployed Emergency Medical Assistance to the country which arrived on 13 September 2023. 

Following the fulfilment of their duty, the team returned to France on 12 October. 

Germany Floods (2023)

When Germany was hit with severe floods in December 2023, it requested assistance from UCPM Member States. France provided a flood containment capacity to the country.

Forest Fires in Greece and Cyprus (2023)

During the Cyprus wildfires in Early August 2023, Greece provided aerial firefighting support to the country. 

Meanwhile, Greece faced heavy fires in August 2023 and activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. On 20 August 2023, the country filed a request for support in aerial firefighting as well as on the ground.

Following the request, several capacities from the European Civil Protection Pool were deployed to Greece. France relocated aerial firefighting capacities to Greece. Poland and Bulgaria sent 2 firefighting teams, including vehicles, and Spain sent a Forest Fire Assessment Team to the country.

Previous activations

Last updated: 14/05/2024

Facts & figures

The European Civil Protection Pool is a reserve of emergency response teams and equipment (known as “capacities”). 

Capacities are committed by European states and Participating States to respond to disasters inside and outside the EU.

The Pool was established in 2013.

To date, 27 European countries contribute 130 resources to the Pool.

The Pool allows for a more predictable, pre-planned and quality-checked European response.

The European Medical Corps gathers all health-related response capacities that are committed to the Pool.