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Solidarity and Austerity: The 2012 State of the European Union-conference Friends of Europe -

Please find the summary of discussions.

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Article 214 PDF Print E-mail

1. The Union's operations in the field of humanitarian aid shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the external action of the Union. Such operations shall be intended to provide ad hoc assistance and relief and protection for people in third countries who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, in order to meet the humanitarian needs resulting from these different situations. The Union's measures and those of the Member States shall complement and reinforce each other.

2. Humanitarian aid operations shall be conducted in compliance with the principles of international law and with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination.

3. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the measures defining the framework within which the Union's humanitarian aid operations shall be implemented.

4. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 and in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union.

The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude agreements.

5. In order to establish a framework for joint contributions from young Europeans to the humanitarian aid operations of the Union, a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps shall be set up. The European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall determine the rules and procedures for the operation of the Corps.

6. The Commission may take any useful initiative to promote coordination between actions of the Union and those of the Member States, in order to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of Union and national humanitarian aid measures.

7. The Union shall ensure that its humanitarian aid operations are coordinated and consistent with those of international organisations and bodies, in particular those forming part of the United Nations system.


  • This article is the first legal basis for humanitarian aid.
  • National humanitarian aid policies and the EU policy should not only complement each other, they also have to reinforce each other according to this article.
  • This policy is subject to co-decision between the Council and the European Parliament


  • The objectives of humanitarian aid policy are very clear and exhaustive.
  • The key humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination are prominently placed within this article
  • National humanitarian actions and those undertaken by the EU should not only complement each other, they also have to reinforce each other according to this article. This will help to harmonise he policies of the 27 Member States with EU standards.
  • Humanitarian aid policy is considered as a Community policy (subject to the normal legislative procedure). As the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has a different status (intergovernmental policy), the interactions between CFSP and humanitarian aid should preserve the different nature of these two policies. Institutional structures bringing these policies together such as the High Representative for Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should, therefore, respect the clear lines of accountability required for a Community policy if the integrity of humanitarian aid is respected.
  • The law setting up the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps planned in this article should ensure that humanitarian actions from young volunteers do not lead to dangerous situations undermining the EU's overall efforts in humanitarian aid.


  • This article is new