Emergency Preparedness | Two new documents: Guidance for bilateral arrangements and Common understanding of Emergency Workers

Following the publication of the new BSS, Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom, HERCA established in 2014 a Task Force on the role of HERCA in the transposition of BSS and has developed an action plan (HERCA BSS Action Plan). The transposition of EU BSS Directive has been considered as a cross-cutting issue within HERCA involving all HERCA working groups and task force.

Guidance for Bilateral Arrangements

The Action #1 of HERCA Action plan on BSS was focused on Article 99 of the EU BSS Directive. HERCA Board has approved on 10 November 2015 the “Guidance for bilateral arrangements”. This new guidance shall support the implementation of the HERCA-Approach for a better cross-border coordination of protective actions during the response in the early phase of a nuclear accident”.

The strategy is to aim at an alignment of the response between neighbouring countries or neighbouring territories. This is supported by early information exchanges using existing bilateral and international arrangements as far as possible.

Bilateral arrangements are understood as an integrated set of agreed elements between the parties adhering to the bilateral arrangements. These elements may include an agreement, procedures, protocols and other documents. HERCA collected good practices from existing arrangements, the Nordic manual and draft EPAL papers to produce such guidance. The guidance comprises a complete “shopping lists” concerning the various aspects that need or may need to be dealt with. At the same time, it is recognized that bilateral arrangements can be implemented easier if their degree of complexity is small (keep it simple). Therefore, the items listed in the guidance document are not to be understood as mandatory.

Common understanding of Emergency Workers

The Action #2 of HERCA Action plan on BSS was focused on Articles 4(31), 17 and 53 of the EU BSS Directive on Emergency workers. HERCA Board has approved on 10 November 2015 the “Common understanding of the provisions related to emergency workers”.

While the protection of Emergency Workers is regulated in most countries, national interpretations differ.

The possible need for harmonization was assessed by the means of a questionnaire, asking members of the Working Group Emergencies to attribute regulatory categories to different roles that might arise in an emergency.

While showing a rich variation in interpretations, there is general agreement for the most important roles. Wherever differences are found, the bilateral impact is deemed to be marginal at worst. Therefore, no need for harmonisation with respect to the concept of Emergency Workers is seen.

Uniform transposition or implementation in the Member States is not an objective of HERCA activities: it remains a matter for individual Member States as to the extent to which they avail of HERCA’s work in transposing the BSS into their national regulations.


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