The Commission has approved an advance payment of €100 millionto Slovenia under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), to ease the financial burden of reconstruction efforts after the damage caused by the devastating floods that took place in the country in August 2023.
The advance payment follows the application for EUSF support submitted by Slovenia on 20 October 2023. The final payment, which will depend on the Commission’s assessment of Slovenia’s application for EUSF support and budgetary availability, will follow in 2024.
The floods were described by Slovenian authorities as the worst flooding disaster in Slovenia’s recent history, affecting almost two-thirds of the country. Key infrastructure such as roads and energy supplies were damaged, with hundreds of homes and buildings destroyed. President von der Leyen and Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, visited Slovenia on 9 August 2023 to directly express the EU’s solidarity and support.
In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the Commission stood in solidarity with Slovenia, offering assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which included amongst other things, helicopters, trucks and excavators. Since then, the Commission has also mobilised €8.6 million via the agricultural reserve to support farmers in Slovenia whose livelihoods have been most affected by the floods.
Support made available via the EUSF will further help Slovenia to overcome the devastating effects caused by the floods, to restore key infrastructure, fund rescue services, implement measures to protect the cultural heritage impacted by the disaster, and more generally, finance clean-up operations.
Supporting Slovenia in climate change adaptation and risk prevention is a key priority of the 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programmes. For Slovenia, over €92 million was committed to flood protection in the 2014-2020 programmes and following a recent programme amendment, funds were re-allocated to the purchase of equipment for a rapid response to the floods. The Slovenian authorities have committed an additional €109 million to flood risk investments in the 2021-2027 programmes.
The European Solidarity Fund helps Member States and accession countries to handle the financial burden caused by major natural disasters and health emergencies. Between 2002 and 2022, the Fund mobilised over €8.2 billion for 127 disasters (107 natural disasters and 20 health emergencies) in 24 Member States (plus the UK), and 3 accession countries (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia).
In 2023 alone, the Commission approved a total of €454.8 million in EUSF assistance, granting it to Italy (floods in Marche region in 2022), Romania (drought in 2022) and Turkey (earthquakes in February 2023). Very recently, Italy received an advance payment of €94.7 million to handle the financial burden caused by the floods in the Emilia-Romagna region of May 2023.
In June, the Commission made a proposal to increase by €2.5 billionthe ceiling of the Solidarity Emergency and Aid Reserve (SEAR) in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) mid-term revision. The proposed €2.5 billion is to be shared between the two instruments under the SEAR – the EUSF and the Emergency and Aid Reserve (EAR) – during the remaining four years of the 2021-2027 MFF programming period.