EU solidarity in action: The EU Solidarity Fund has provided vital support following 11 natural disasters in 2017-2018
The European Commission published its report on the activities of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for 2017 and 2018. It underlines the high added value of the Fund in providing emergency and recovery support and in alleviating the financial burden on national and regional authorities. In 2017 and 2018, the Commission has received a total of 15 requests to mobilise the Fund, 12 of which have been accepted. The total amount of financial aid awarded was €1.35 billion, including the unprecedented contribution of €1.2 billion to the recovery effort following the earthquakes in central Italy in 2017. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “The EU Solidarity Fund is one of the most concrete expressions of EU solidarity. It provides longer-term financial support to Member States hit by natural disasters and brings relief to citizens and regions suffering from the consequences. It also reminds us about the importance of investing in prevention and climate mitigation, in line with the priorities of the European Green Deal.” The European Solidarity Fund was established in 2002 in reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe. Member States can apply for support from the Fund when the total damage caused by the disaster exceeds a certain threshold. So far, the Fund has mobilised over €5.5 billion for interventions in 87 disaster events in 23 Member States and 1 accession country (Serbia). Member States hit by a natural disaster can request additional EU support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the RescEU. Volunteers from the EU Solidarity Corps can join the recovery efforts. A detailed overview of the all interventions of the Solidarity Fund from its creation in 2002 is available on the ESIF Open Data portal. In 2014-2020, the EU has been investing an additional €8 billion in climate change and risk prevention through Cohesion Policy.