To date, the request from Italy and Spain to activate the European civil protection mechanism to cope with the coronavirus pandemic has not yet been accepted. If the block seems to be ignoring the distress call from its southern member, support may arrive from NATO.
German newspaper Franfkurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, that Italy and Spain have received “aid to Europe, not through the EU, but through NATO”.
The Czech Republic, trough NATO, has sent medical supplies to both Italy and Spain. Meanwhile, NATO HQ is planning nine additional operations for the delivery of aid to states affected by the pandemic, including Montenegro and North Macedonia, as well as to partner countries Ukraine and Moldova.
NATO Coordination Center for Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response (EADRCC), established in 1998 within the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, brings together all NATO member states as well as some states formerly the Warsaw Pact, including Russia.
EADRCC is the Alliances main civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area. It is active all year round, operational on a 24/7 basis, and involves all NATO’s Allies and all partner countries.
The Centre functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests and offers of assistance mainly in case of natural and man-made disasters.
EADRCC is tasked to provide support in the event of a disaster. All of the EADRCC’s tasks are performed in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which retains the primary role in the coordination of international disaster relief operations.
On March 23, Ukraine requested EADRCC’s support. Spain activated the mechanism the following day, asking for the supply of 150 thousand medical suits, two million protective masks, 500,000 diagnostic tests, 500 artificial respiration machines, and other medical supplies.
The Italian Ministry of Defense (MoD) requested, among other things, 300 million disposable gloves, about two billion protective masks and 58 thousand devices for artificial respiration.