The recent proposal on amending the EU's 'Union civil protection mechanism' (UCPM) needs further clarification, according to an Opinion published today by the European Court of Auditors. In particular, it remains to be decided how its increased resources will be used and monitored. While speeding up the EU's response to crises is essential, the principles of sound financial management and accountability need to prevail, the auditors warn.
On 26 March 2020, the European Council discussed the EU's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It subsequently invited the European Commission to make proposals to establish “a more ambitious and wide-ranging crisis management system" in the EU. With this in mind, the Commission proposed, within less than two months, amending the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The overall aim of this legislative proposal is to ensure that the EU can provide its citizens in Europe and beyond with better crisis and emergency support.
“Crises are by definition unpredictable. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark indication of the absolute need for the EU to be better prepared and able to respond swiftly", said Leo Brincat, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the Opinion. “The recent proposal amending the UCPM is a step forward in that respect. But when establishing its future crisis management response, the Commission should not confuse speed with haste".