A Humanitarian Office, set up in 1992, turned into a Directorate General (DG) for Humanitarian Aid, in 2004, before integrating Civil Protection (DG ECHO), in 2010. DG ECHO currently administers international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response within and outside Europe (http://ec.europa.eu/echo/about/presentation_en.htm).
The Union Civil Protection Mechanism, or UCPM, was created to support member-states in their efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to natural or man-made disasters either within or outside of the EU. It aims at strengthening the cooperation on and coordination of civil protection actions on an EU and member-state level (http://ec.europa.eu/echo/policies/disaster_response/mechanism_en.htm).
The Civil Protection Mechanism was first established by the Council Decision 2001/792/EC, in order to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions. This was recast by Council Decision 2007/779/EC which established an EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The "Financial Instrument" of the Mechanism was ensured by the Council Decision 2007/162/EC. Funds are disposed towards, first, improving the effectiveness of the response in case of major disasters and, second, enhancing prevention and preparedness in emergency situations.
After 10 years of implementation, increasing activations and a successful string of and emergency responses within and outside the EU, a necessity for better cooperation and levels of protection in domestic, European and international levels emerged.
From January 1st 2014, a new, improved Union Civil Protection Mechanism is in force. The Article 196 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union constitutes the primary legal basis for the Union Mechanism.
The most important features of the Union Mechanism:
1.The Emergency Response Coordination Center (previously Monitoring and Information Center – MIC)
2.The Common Emergency and Information System (CECIS)
4.The Training and Exercise Program
(About the EU Legislation, see more: Additional/EU Legislation)