SP success: European Fire and Emergency Service voted down

20 February 2019

SP success: European Fire and Emergency Service voted down

The SP has thrown a spanner in the works of plans to establish a European Fire and Emergency Service. A motion from SP Member of Parliament Michiel Van Nispen instructing the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security not to vote in favour of the establishment of such a service has been adopted by majority vote. Rejection was necessary in order to put a halt to EU interference in national affairs. Following the drawing of the Netherlands into participation in a European Public Prosecutors Office, the EU now wants to set up what it calls 'RescEU', to deal with major fires and other catastrophic events throughout the member states and, if necessary, beyond. Commenting on the proposal, Van Nispen said, “This prestige project would cost more than €200 million of taxpayers' money, money that would be used to pay for fire engines, hoses, rescue teams, field hospitals and emergency medical units, all of which would then be stationed somewhere in Europe. Yet the utility of and need for this has not been demonstrated at all.”

Van Nispen accepts that a forest fire, earthquake or flood can sometimes be so serious that a single member state cannot – or can scarcely – deal with it on its own in the initial period following the disaster. “But what happens then in practice is that neighbouring countries rush to its aid, so a European Fire and Emergency Service would be completely superfluous and a waste of our taxpayers' money.”

Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus attempted to persuade Parliament to vote to support the measure on the grounds that he had received assurances that member states would be expected first of all to do all they could to build their own capacities. “That's not convincing,” said Van Nispen. “In the first place, how sure can we be that certain countries won't become complacent if they know that they can also call on the EU's flying aid troops? But the main objection is that there is not a shred of evidence that this can be better regulated at European level. In the SP's view, this has little to do with solidarity, but much more with EU meddlesomeness and waste.”

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