In its follow-up report published on 20 September 2023, the European Commission largely echoes the position of and calls made in the opinion, such as:
the call to strengthen the common security of supply across Europe, including by identifying critical strategic dependencies and providing the Single Market mechanisms needed to bolster the security of supply;
the importance of the social dimension in building up resilience against disasters and crises;
the fact that disasters and extreme events have the potential to increase disparities between regions and citizens - reducing these inequalities is at the core of cohesion policy;
the importance of Interreg programmes in crisis management
On societal preparedness - the Commission agrees with the importance of societal preparedness and the social dimension in building resilience against crises and disasters, also referring to the Union Disaster Resilience Goals where enhancing societal preparedness has been identified as a key priority, and highlighting that the JRC scoreboard uses social dimension as one of the four key areas assessed. In view of increasing the risk awareness and preparedness of the population, the Commission has launched a call for tender for a ʻpreparEU mapping and feasibility study’ with the objective to map national, regional and local initiatives that already exist, and identify what type of initiative would bring most added value at EU level.
On the scoreboard - the Commission recognises and highlights the work by JRC on the vulnerability index and the scoreboard, referring to it in several points, but also stating that JRC does not have plans to have more granular data than NUTS 3 level, e.g. for cities and/or municipalities but maintains that a testing phase on voluntary basis with a pilot region or city might be considered. The Commission welcomes the point on "developing an "index" and territorial vulnerability scoreboard is crucial in order to start a policy debate on how to use future cohesion policy to respond to such vulnerabilities" and intends to use regional vulnerability, whenever possible, with a view to further enhancing the resilience of the concerned territories. Statistical data at NUTS 3 level will be used accordingly, if available.
The Commission invites the Committee to promote the implementation of the disaster resilience goals and their flagships at regional and local levels. This could include actions such as upgrading local risk assessments, stress-testing local disaster scenarios, building new partnerships across sectoral and geographical borders, and mobilising resources to invest in preparedness and resilience at local and regional levels. Under the UCPM, financial support is available to LRAs and other stakeholders for projects contributing to the Union disaster resilience goals and flagships. Examples include cross-border stress-tests of various components of crisis management systems and risk communication activities.