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Rapid-reaction mechanism

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Rapid-reaction mechanism

This Regulation creates a mechanism to enable rapid action to be taken in specific areas in response to or avoid real or potential crisis situations or conflicts. Financing takes the form of grants. The Commission, with the help of its partners, is the institution responsible for implementing, coordinating and evaluating the mechanism.


Council Regulation (EC) No 381/2001 of 26 February 2001 creating a rapid-reaction mechanism [Official Journal L 57 of 27.02.2001].


This Regulation creates a "rapid-reaction mechanism" designed to allow the Community to respond in a rapid, efficient and flexible manner to situations of urgency or crisis or to the emergence of crisis.

The Annex lists all the regulations and programmes which the Regulation replaces if:

  • the action is immediate and cannot be launched within a reasonable time-limit under the existing legal instruments;
  • the action in limited in time.

The activities covered by the ECHO Regulation remain in principle outside the scope of this Regulation, unless the Commission decides otherwise.

Nature of the actions

The mechanism triggers actions of a civilian nature to preserve or re-establish, in situations of crisis or emerging crisis, the conditions of stability essential to the proper implementation and success of these aid, assistance and cooperation policies and programmes. Actions are decided and implemented by the Commission after it has notified the Council and taken its approach into account.


Financing takes the form of grants and the interventions are exempt from taxes, charges and customs duties.

An overall annual ceiling is set for interventions under the rapid-reaction mechanism and the implementation period of any action may not exceed six months.


Eligible partners are authorities of the Member States or of the beneficiary countries and their agencies, regional and international organisations and agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and public and private operators with appropriate specialised expertise and experience. As regards NGOs and private operators, certain criteria, set out in detail in the Regulation, must be met, such as technical and management capacities, experience, and criteria relating to their record and guarantees.

Role of the Commission

The Commission ensures that action taken is effectively coordinated with action by the Member States, including on the ground. This action must be coherent, complementary and effective. The Commission must also promote cooperation with international and regional organisations. It must also evaluate actions in order to determine whether the objectives pursued have been met.

Dates of application

The Regulation entered into force on 2 March 2001 and applies until 31 December 2006. The Council must review the Regulation before 31 December 2005, following an evaluation report from the Commission.


Communication from the Commission of 1 October 2004 - Proposal for a Regulation of the Council establishing an Instrument for Stability [COM(2004) 630 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 11 April 2001 on Conflict Prevention [COM(2001) 211 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2368/2002 of 20 December 2002 implementing the Kimberley Process certification scheme for the international trade in rough diamonds [Official Journal No L 358, 31.12.2002].

Communication from the Commission of 29 November 2001 - Financing of civilian crisis management operations [COM(2001) 647 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 11 April 2000 on EU election assistance and observation [COM(2000) 191 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report: "One Year On: the Commission's Conflict Prevention Policy", March 2002.

Joint Report by the Secretariat-General of the Commission and the CFSP High Representative, transmitted to the Nice European Council of 7-8 December 2000.

See also

For more information on the rapid-reaction mechanism, please visit the DG RELEX website.

Last updated: 24.11.2004