European Commission hopes to see action plan adopted by year end

The European Commission hopes its CBRN action plan, designed to improve the EU’s defenses against the threat of a chemical, nuclear or bioterrorism attack, will be adopted by member states by the end of the year.

The plan presented by the commission in June contains 113 measures grouped into three packages to prevent dangerous material from falling into the hands of terrorists, improve detection of such weapons and ensure the EU has a speedy and efficient response to any attack. A budget of 100 million euros (approximately $150 million) is foreseen to finance the plan over four years, starting in 2010.

“The action plan is not a legal instrument, it’s a political commitment,” said Patrick Dietz, policy officer at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security. “We hope there will be real added value.”

Dietz spoke Oct. 14 at a conference on bioterrorism organized by the Security Defence Agenda think tank where the EU faced criticism over its level of preparedness in the face of a possible germ warfare attack.