Council Resolution of 19 December 2002 on special civil protection assistance to outermost and isolated regions, to insular regions, to regions which are not easily accessible, and to sparsely populated regions, in the European Union
Official Journal C 024 , 31/01/2003 P. 0010 - 0011
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of 19 December 2002
on special civil protection assistance to outermost and isolated regions, to insular regions, to regions which are not easily accessible, and to sparsely populated regions, in the European Union
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
(1) The current Civil Protection Action Programme approved by Council Decision 1999/847/EC, of 9 December 1999, establishing a Community action programme in the field of civil protection(1), states, in its sixth recital, that the isolated and outermost regions of the Union have special characteristics because of their geography, terrain and social and economic conditions which have an adverse effect and make it difficult to deliver aid and means of assistance in the event of major danger.
(2) Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom of 23 October 2001 establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions(2), states, in its 10th recital that the isolated and outermost regions and some other areas of the Community often have special characteristics and needs owing to their geography, terrain and social and economic circumstances. These have an adverse effect, hamper the deployment of assistance and intervention resources making it difficult to deliver aid and means of assistance, and create particular needs for assistance in the event of serious danger of major emergency.
(3) The new guidelines for the programmes co-financed by the Structural Funds under the Interreg III Community initiative(3), aim at promoting cross-border cooperation, including civil protection cooperation in border, outermost and insular regions and transnational cooperation in risk management in areas prone to natural disasters.
(4) In addition to the outermost regions as defined in Article 299(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and the least favoured regions or islands, including rural areas, as referred to in the second paragraph of Article 158 of the Treaty, there are isolated regions, remote regions which are not easily accessible and sparsely populated regions in the European Union such as those in the northern part of Europe which have characteristics that affect the proper planning and implementation of civil protection.
(5) The establishment of plans in those regions is far more costly in terms of human and material resources than those initiated in other parts of European Union and the training and necessary updating of staff involved in such plans is also more expensive.
(6) Obtaining a certain level of response in these regions involves a far more intensive use of human and material resources than in a similar situation in other regions. The geographical features (insularity, terrain, land shortage) lead to serious problems when teams are put into place and deployed, especially taking into account the scarcity of resources in the Member States closest to the outermost and isolated regions and in most of the insular or remote regions.
(7) Solidarity among citizens of the European Union must be demonstrated in providing safety and protection for such citizens irrespective of their place of residence,
HAS ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION:
1. While Civil Protection is primarily the responsibility of the Member States, efforts should be made at the level of the Community to endeavour to ensure that its citizens living in or visiting outermost, isolated, insular, remote or sparsely populated regions enjoy a level of safety similar to that existing in other areas of the Union. For that reason and taking into account the socio-economic situation of some of these territories compared with the rest of the European Union and the additional cost involved in achieving safety levels similar to those elsewhere in the Union, measures ensuring adequate assistance should be provided.
2. It is necessary to encourage the execution of joint projects between outermost, isolated, insular, remote and sparsely populated regions, geared to the identification of common risks, exchange of information and procedures for a more uniform approach to risk assessment; all this is required in order to draw up and implement integrated strategies and actions to provide each territory with appropriate early-warning systems, and appropriate land use planning on the basis of the different risks.
3. Planning for emergencies should provide for and take into account those issues arising from existing risks, the demographic, socio-economic and geographical characteristics of the territory, and the particular socio-economic vulnerability to disaster of the outermost, isolated, insular, remote and sparsely populated regions.
4. Recognition is given to the fundamental importance of communications in emergency management, both within the region (sometimes problematic because of its geographic features and terrain) and with other parts of the country and other neighbouring regions. There is a need for redundant and reliable voice, data and image communications, which allow for effective coordination of interventions in any situation.
5. Emphasis is laid on the advisability of having specialised intervention teams in those Member States with outermost, isolated, insular, remote or sparsely populated areas, and on the fact that effective implementation of the mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions allows the rest of the European Union to make a contribution to solidarity.
6. Given the special importance of the tourism sector on the economy in some of these territories, it is important to conduct information campaigns on self-protection measures for visitors. These campaigns could be coordinated at Community level.
7. The Member States are invited to take better advantage of the use of existing Community programmes, in particular Interreg III, to develop measures that are complementary to those of the Community Action Programme in the field of Civil Protection.
8. The Member States concerned are invited as far as possible to report on the follow-up to this Resolution to the Commission, who will report further to the Committee for the action Programme and for the Mechanism in the field of Civil Protection.
9. This Resolution does not prejudge specific measures that may be taken in favour of outermost regions as defined in Article 299 paragraph 2 of the Treaty.
(1) OJ L 327, 21.12.1999, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 297, 15.11.2001, p. 7.
(3) Communication from the Commission to the Member States of 28 April 2000 laying down guidelines for a Community initiative concerning trans-European cooperation intended to encourage harmonious and balanced development of the European territory - Interreg III (OJ C 143, 23.5.2000, p. 6).