Extreme temparatures, wildfires, floods and even earthquakes are an imminent risk to the EU’s candidate and potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Only recently, Montenegro had to request support from the EU “Community Mechanism for Civil Protection“ to extenguish severe forest fires.
The Mechanism was established by a Council decision in 2001 and is meant to facilitate cooperation in civil protection assistance between the participating countries. To date, 32 countries take part; not only all of the EU countries but, most recently, also Croatia and FYROM. The countries share a common pool of civil protection capabilities of which any country from inside or outside the EU can request assistance in case of a major emergency. Adhering to the principle of subsidiarity, the Mechanism’s Monitoring and Information Centre consolidates available resources while the authority remains with the nation states.
Bringing the IPA countries closer to the Mechanism is the primary goal of the EU-funded project on “Civil Protection Cooperation for the candidate countries and potential candidates” implemented by a consortium led by Human Dynamics. Common training and exchange of knowledge under the guidance of EU experts aims at ameliorating the beneficiaries’ civil protection capabilities as well as at enhancing the cooperation and solidarity in the region. Thereby the countries’ high vulnerability to disasters that often transcend borders will be reduced.
From 23 to 29 June 2012, 20 civil protection experts from the beneficiary countries met in Sutomore, Montenegro to participate in the 7thBasic Training Course. They got an insight in the design and functioning of the Civil Protection Mechanism, learned about common procedures in international civil protection assistance and shared their own experiences. Maybe even more important, they enhanced their international network of contacts that they can rely on in case of emergency.
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence