After the Stockholm and Madrid meetings, this is the third meeting of the Network to be held in the country chairing the Council of the European Union, which highlights the importance of strengthening the ties between the EU and national authorities for crisis management.
“This is the third meeting of the Network that is being hosted in context of the Presidency of the Council, and I think we can all agree that it showcases the crucial connection between our Network and the European Union. It enables us to ensure our voices are being heard at the European level, as well as it facilitates support from the EU for our collective efforts towards crisis management.” – Leen Depuydt, Director General a.i. of the Belgian National Crisis Center
26 EU Member States, along with Norway, Switzerland, the Benelux Union, as well as European institutions and organizations, gathered to address a number of crucial issues. The discussions covered the entire risk cycle: from crisis preparedness to crisis response and the essential lessons learned from previous crises. The active presence and participation of member countries once again demonstrates the strong shared desire to collaborate in order to reinforce crisis management at a European level.
“Belgium has known several federal crises. These events are affecting more than one country due to their cross border nature and European geography, and are becoming increasingly cross sectoral as well.
Thankfully, while these dramatic events have affected us all, strained our societies and keep on challenging our vision of crisis management, they also push us to do better, to think outside the box and to enhance collaboration in the field of crisis management, preparedness and resilience.” - Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal.
The day started off with the topic of upcoming major sporting competitions, starting with France's preparations for the Olympic Games in Paris, followed by a presentation by the Netherlands on their preparations for both the Olympic Games and the European Football Cup which will take place in Germany. This was a great opportunity to obtain enlightening insights into the best way to approach a major event as a neighbouring country. The presentations were followed by an exchange of experiences and best practices.
The afternoon kicked off on a more practical and technical note with a presentation of the Paragon project by the Belgian National Crisis Center. This hands-on demonstration was built around a case study of cross-border cooperation.
Finally, the day culminated in a round-table discussion on the future of European crisis management. These fruitful, insightful discussions will undoubtedly have a crucial influence on the work carried out by the National Crisis Center within the Council of the European Union in the framework of its Presidency.
Created in 2018 at the initiative of the Belgian National Crisis Center and supported by the Benelux Secretariat General, the network of Directors General of European Crisis Centers aims to foster coordination between national crisis management authorities, to ensure that all members are informed about the challenges faced by the various crisis centers, to share existing expertise and experience, while simultaneously supporting each other in implementing common solutions at the national level.