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Joint press release: Exercise to test Emergency and Crisis Coordination Arrangements (CCA) in Brussels

Monday, 30 October 2006, the Council of the European Union and the Commission conducted an exercise to test the functioning of the recently approved Emergency and Crisis Coordination Arrangements in Brussels (CCA).

The aim of the  exercise was to verify the joint capacity of the Council and the Commission to react quickly and efficiently to a major crisis.

The arrangements are designed to enable the Council and the European Commission to successfully respond to any major emergency or crisis that may affect several EU Member States, or the interests of the Union as a whole.  The exercise was the first of its kind in the context of the crisis arrangements.

The chosen scenario referred to a near-simultaneous terrorist attack in five EU cities. It is underscored that the exercise's scenario was not based on any existent information on the possibility of such attacks taking place, and was a purely fictitious description of events.

CCAEX06, the exercise's code name, aimed inter alia at testing the adequacy of the CCA structures, in particular the CCA Support Group (senior officials of the Council and the Commission with an advisory role), and the CCA Steering Group (the Presidency, the Member States directly affected by the crisis, and top Council and Commission officials, such as their respective Secretaries-General). The Steering Group's role is to think and plan strategically in response to the crisis.  Moreover, it lays the groundwork for the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), whose task is to consider and decide on the different possible responses to the crisis at EU level.
The exercise started at 13h30 Brussels time with a number of fictitious media inputs that continued throughout the afternoon, mobilising ARGUS, (the Commission’s general rapid alert system and crisis communications network), the Commission’s Crisis Coordination Committee and culminating with the meetings of the Support Group and Steering Group at 17h15 and 18h00, respectively.  The exercise was terminated at 20h00.

An oral evaluation of the exercise was presented this afternoon by the Presidency to Coreper.  It concluded on the adequacy of the CCA structures, the good level of knowledge among participants of the CCA structures and procedures, as well as on the importance of close cooperation between the Council and the Commission, and the need for improvement in the use of communication technology.

For further information on the exercise, please contact the Spokesperson of the Presidency, the Head of the Council Press Office, or the Deputy Spokesperson of the Commission.