More countries join ‘EU’s strategic reserves for chemical, biological and radiological emergencies’

More countries join 'EU's strategic reserves for chemical, biological and radiological emergencies'. Image: Ben Carlson/

ON Monday, February 20, another three countries joined the ‘EU’s strategic reserves for chemical, biological and radiological emergencies’.

Croatia, France, and Poland became the latest countries to join the EU’s strategic reserves for chemical, biological and radiological emergencies, joining Finland, the European Commission announced.

“To improve the EU preparedness and response to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats, the Commission is building strategic reserves of response capacities through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA),” the EC said.

“Today, Croatia, France, and Poland have joined Finland in hosting the rescEU stockpiles worth in total €545.6 million.”

It added: “The reserves will include antidotes, antibiotics, vaccines, sedatives, and prophylactic treatments and specific CBRN response equipment, such as detectors and decontamination supplies and personal protective equipment (e.g., gas masks and protection suits).

“The establishment of the four stockpiles represent a cross-sectoral cooperation between the EU’s health and civil protection authorities. Once established, Member States will be able to request the mobilisation of relevant stock via the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

“In parallel, the Commission has just launched an additional call for proposals for a total value of €636 million focusing this time on the response to pathogens with pandemic potential, CBRN threats and antimicrobial resistance.”

The EC also said that “people may be exposed to CBRN agents as a result of unintentional disasters (e.g. a chemical plant leak, nuclear power plant incidents, the spread of an infectious disease) or intentional incidents (e.g. a terrorist attack).”

It added that “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine further stressed the need for strategic stockpiles of accessible critical medical countermeasures and CBRN response equipment to protect EU citizens, in particular in case of CBRN attacks or accidents.”

It said that through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, “CBRN in-kind assistance was mobilised from 26 Member States and from existing rescEU strategic reserves.”

“This included chemical detectors, radiometric instruments, decontamination, and personal protective equipment in addition to therapeutics such as potassium iodide tablets and antidotes,” it said.

“However, the pandemic highlighted the lack of reserve capacities of essential medical countermeasures, such as PPE. Emerging threats, such as the coronavirus, but also CBRN incidents may overwhelm the ability of EU Member States to help each other, especially when several European countries face the same type of disaster simultaneously.”

“The stockpiles are overseen by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA),” it added.

You can read about HERA here.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at