European political leaders have understood that is vital for the continent to request the best and the utmost from Member States in a close civil-military cooperation aiming to counter CBRN related risks and threats, get equipped to the highest degree possible, prepared and jointly trained to counter CBRN multi-hazard emergency situations. “The aim is to provide rapid response capabilities for our citizens, if such an emergency ever occurs”, as stated Janez Lenarcic, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, in a speech in Brussels in June 2022.
However, the EU is aware that the security of European societies does not depend on European efforts alone but can only be assured through an efficient network with partners in Europe, Europe’s adjacent regions, and even beyond.
In 2009, the launch of an EU CBRN 2010-2015 action plan has given impetus to Brussels institutions and Member States for diverse national and international initiatives and actions.
In 2010 followed an EU-driven international cooperation project, creating the CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE). This new methodology for providing technical assistance in CBRN risk mitigation to countries outside the EU is combining regional and transregional networking approaches with national needs assessments and action plans developed by the partner countries, and a project delivery system to transfer EU expertise in a tailored manner to partner countries. A system of eight Regional Secretariats was established and has matured to an effective capacity-building platform.
In 2014, the EU communication “A new approach to the detection and mitigation of CBRN-E risks” paved the way for a new approach on detection and mitigation of CBRN risks.
In 2017, eight years after the first one, a new EU CBRN action plan was presented, building on the work done so far.
In 2021, a study on “EU preparedness and response to CBRN threats”, requested by the European Parliament, recommended structural and processional measures. The study states that the Commission should “take measures to strengthen the response capacity to CBRN incidents, including pandemics, through building up indigenous production capacities for protective equipment and supplies (medical as well as nonmedical) in the EU, as well as ‘ramp-up capacity’ to start production of critical items not manufactured in the EU during a crisis. This would require not merely the setting up of manufacturing capacities but also to ensure compatible or common standards of the equipment to ensure interoperability”. The political willingness in this field is promising for further progress!