Today, the European Commission is proposing a package of €823 million in financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to help rebuilding efforts after the earthquake in Croatia and the floods in Poland. The package will also foresee advance payments to Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal to support those countries in tackling with the coronavirus health emergency.
The aid package is divided into several components:
- €683.7 million to help Croatia deal with the devastating effects of the earthquake in Zagreb and its surroundings back in March 2020. A first disbursement of €88.9 million was already released in August 2020 in the form of advance payments.
- More than €7 million to assist Poland in its reconstruction efforts following the floods in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship province in June this year.
- More than €132.7 million as advance payment to Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal following their request for an assistance to address the coronavirus outbreak and its effects.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, commented: “Thanks to the EU Solidarity Fund, Member States and citizens can receive the support they really need, either in the wake of a natural disaster or during a health emergency. Today we have yet another important proof of what EU solidarity actually means, as the beating heart of the European project.”
The European Parliament and the Council will need to approve today’s Commission proposal for EU Solidarity Fund assistance. Once the Commission’s proposal is adopted, the financial aid can be disbursed. The Commission is currently carrying out the assessment of the applications received. Once completed, it will put forward a proposal for mobilisation for the final payments.
The EUSF supports EU Member States and accession countries by offering financial support after severe natural disasters and, from this year, health emergencies. Since its creation in 2002, the Fund has been activated in more than 90 catastrophic events, covering floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and droughts. So far, the EUSF has mobilised over €5.5 billion in 23 Member States and one accession country. As part of the exceptional EU response to the coronavirus outbreak, the scope of the EUSF has been extended to cover major public health emergencies and the maximum level of advance payments was raised from €30 million to €100 million.
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