In recent years, the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement has taken a particular interest in the role of legislation providing the legal basis for risk prevention and management. The situation in this field varies greatly from one member state to another, and many states seek to draw on other countries' experience in such matters as food for thought in their own reform processes.

Nonetheless, they often confine themselves to seeking inspiration from their immediate neighbours, whose proximity facilitates contacts and the exchange of information. At the same time, hazards and disasters are not confined within national borders, and a more global approach should accordingly be adopted. Under the auspices of the Agreement and in co-operation with some of its other specialised centres, in 2001 the Higher Institute of Emergency Planning (ISPU) in Florival (Belgium) launched a comparative study of the legislation of the Agreement's member states with the aim of establishing a legal data base on risk management and identifying good practices that might be transposed to other countries.