Procedure : 2018/2078(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0272/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0272/2018

Debates :

Votes :

PV 11/09/2018 - 6.4

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0321

REPORT     
PDF 490kWORD 65k
4.9.2018
PE 623.663v02-00 A8-0272/2018

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland

(COM(2018)0360 – C8‑0245/2018 – 2018/2078(BUD))

Committee on Budgets

Rapporteur: Janusz Lewandowski

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 ANNEX – LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland

(COM(2018)0360 – C8‑0245/2018 – 2018/2078(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0360 – C8‑0245/2018),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 10 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 11 thereof,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0272/2018),

1.  Welcomes the decision as a sign of the Union’s solidarity with Union citizens and regions hit by natural disasters;

2.  Stresses the urgent need to release financial assistance through the European Union Solidarity Fund ('the Fund') to the regions affected by natural disasters and regrets the number of lives lost in natural disasters in the Union in 2017;

3.  Calls for further optimisation of the mobilisation procedure leading to a shorter application-to-payment time; recalls that quick disbursement to beneficiaries is of major importance to local communities, local authorities and for their trust in the Union's solidarity;

4.   Supports Member States using European structural and investment funds for the reconstruction of the affected regions; invites the Commission to support and rapidly approve the financial reallocation of the partnership agreements requested by Member States to this end;

5.   Calls on Member States to utilise the financial contribution from the Fund in a transparent way, guaranteeing a fair distribution throughout the affected regions;

6.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

7.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.

(2)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.

(3)

OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1), and in particular Article 4(3) thereof,

Having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(2), and in particular point 11 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1)  The European Union Solidarity Fund ('the Fund') aims to enable the Union to respond in a rapid, efficient and flexible manner to emergency situations in order to show solidarity with the population of regions struck by natural disasters.

(2)  The Fund is not to exceed a maximum annual amount of EUR 500 000 000 (2011 prices), as laid down in Article 10 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013(3).

(3)  On 11 January 2018, Bulgaria submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following a flooding caused by intense rainfall and violent storms of 25 and 26 October 2017.

(4)  On 11 October 2017, Greece submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following an earthquake that affected the South Aegean region and the island of Kos on 20 July 2017.

(5)  On 22 December 2017, Lithuania submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following a flooding caused by continuous rainfall during summer and autumn 2017.

(6)  On 25 October 2017, Poland submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following exceptionally violent storms and heavy rainfall that occurred between 9 and 12 August 2017.

(7)  The applications by Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland meet the conditions for providing a financial contribution from the Fund, as laid down in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002.

(8)  The Fund should therefore be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland.

(9)  In order to minimise the time taken to mobilise the Fund, this Decision should apply from the date of its adoption,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

For the general budget of the Union for the financial year 2018, the European Union Solidarity Fund shall be mobilised to provide the amount of EUR 2 258 225 to Bulgaria, EUR 2 535 796 to Greece, EUR 16 918 941 to Lithuania and EUR 12 279 244 to Poland, in commitment and payment appropriations.

Article 2

This Decision shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

It shall apply from … [the date of its adoption](4)**.

Done at Brussels,

For the European Parliament  For the Council

(1)

  OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.

(2)

  OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p.1.

(3)

  Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884).

(4)

** Date to be inserted by the Parliament before the publication in OJ.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission proposes to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to grant financial assistance relating to floodings in Bulgaria and Lithuania, earthquakes in Greece and storms in Poland.

The natural disasters that occurred during 2017 in the EU caused the loss of human lives and a great deal of destruction in the regions affected, most of them qualified as “less developed regions”. The mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund is a sign of solidarity in the Union to the countries and people that suffered throughout the tragic events.

Bulgaria – Flooding in 2017

On 25 and 26 October 2017, the south-eastern part of Bulgaria experienced unusual intense rainfall and violent storms causing damage to bridges, drainage channels and retaining walls and the basic infrastructure. The flood took 5 victims and affected some 6 000 people, 142 residential and over 1 200 non-residential properties were flooded.

In their application, received by the Commission on 11 January 2018, the Bulgarian authorities estimated total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 90,3 million. As this represents 1,6 % of the region’s GDP (i.e. EUR 5 327 million based on 2015 data) and thus exceeds the 1,5°% threshold of regional GDP, the disaster qualifies as a “regional disaster” within the meaning of Article 2(3) of the EUSF Regulation.

The cost of eligible essential emergency operations, as defined in Article 3 of the Regulation, has been estimated by the Bulgarian authorities at EUR 90,1 million.

The affected regions fall under the category of "less developed regions" under the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds (2014-2020). The Bulgarian authorities did not signal to the Commission their intention to reallocate funding from the ESI Funds programmes towards recovery measures.

Bulgaria requested the payment of an advance. Following a preliminary assessment of the application, the Commission considered that the claimed amount of damage which only marginally exceeds the eligibility threshold required a more thorough assessment and that the payment of an advance is therefore not justified.

In line with past practice, the Commission proposes to apply the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage up to the level of Bulgaria’s “major disaster” threshold. The total amount of aid proposed is therefore EUR 2 258 225.

Greece - Earthquakes in 2017

On 20 July 2017, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6,6 on the Richter scale affected the South Aegean region between Bodrum (Turkey) and the island of Kos (Greece) followed by a multitude of aftershocks, mostly affecting public infrastructure and assets as well as important cultural heritage sites.

In their application, received by the Commission on 11 October 2017 and completed on 9 March 2018, the Greek authorities estimated total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 101,4 million. As this represents 1,8 % of the region’s GDP (i.e. EUR 6 045 million based on 2014 data) and thus exceeds the 1,5°% threshold of regional GDP, the disaster qualifies as a “regional disaster” within the meaning of Article 2(3) of the EUSF Regulation.

The cost of eligible essential emergency operations, as defined in Article 3 of the Regulation, has been estimated by the Greek authorities at EUR 93,9 million.

The affected region falls under the category of "more developed regions" under the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds (2014-2020). The Greek authorities signalled to the Commission their intention to reallocate funding from the ESI Funds programmes towards recovery measures.

Greece requested the payment of an advance, which the Commission considered to be not justified as essential additional information from Greece was required to make the preliminary assessment laid down in Article 4a of the Regulation.

In line with past practice, the Commission proposes to apply the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage up to the level of Greece’s “major disaster” threshold. The total amount of aid proposed is therefore EUR 2 535 796.

Lithuania – Flooding in 2017

During summer and autumn 2017, Lithuania was affected by continuous rainfall resulting in fully saturated soils unable to absorb the excess water. This situation resulted in flooding causing mainly damage to the network infrastructure and in the agricultural sector.

In their application, received by the Commission on 22 December 2017 and completed on 6 February 2018, the Lithuanian authorities estimated total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 407,4 million. As this amount exceeds the 'major disaster threshold' for mobilising the EUSF applicable to Lithuania in 2017 of EUR 214,9 million (i.e. 0,6 % of Gross National Income based on 2015 data), the disaster qualifies as a ‘major natural disaster’ within the meaning of Article 2(2) of the EUSF Regulation.

The cost of eligible essential emergency operations, as defined in Article 3 of the Regulation, has been estimated by the Lithuanian authorities at EUR 240,2 million.

The affected region falls under the category of "less developed regions" under the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds (2014-2020). The Lithuanian authorities did not signal to the Commission their intention to reallocate funding from the ESI Funds programmes towards recovery measures.

Lithuania did not request the payment of an advance.

In line with past practice, the Commission proposes to apply the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage up to the level of Lithuania’s “major disaster” threshold and 6 % to the part of the total direct damage above this threshold. The total amount of aid proposed is therefore EUR 16 918 941.

Poland – Storm in 2017

Between 9 and 12 August 2017 parts of Poland were affected by exceptionally violent storms and heavy rainfall causing widespread damage to private and public forests, public infrastructure and other assets.

In their application, received by the Commission on 25 October 2017 and completed on 23 March 2018, the Polish authorities estimated total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 491,2 million. As the damage caused by the storm represents 2,0 % of weighted average regional GDP of the three regions concerned, namely Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodeship, Pomeranian voivodeship and Greater Poland voivodeship (i.e. EUR 24,1 million based on 2014 data) and therefore exceeds the 1,5 % threshold of regional GDP, the disaster qualifies as a “regional disaster” within the meaning of Article 2(3) of the EUSF Regulation.

The cost of eligible essential emergency operations, as defined in Article 3 of the Regulation, has been estimated by the Polish authorities at EUR 324,5 million.

The affected region falls under the category of "less developed regions" under the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds (2014-2020). The Polish authorities did not signal to the Commission the intention to reallocate funding from the ESI Funds programmes towards recovery measures.

Poland did not request the payment of an advance.

In line with past practice, the Commission proposes to apply the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage as it is below Poland’s “major disaster” threshold. The total amount of aid proposed is therefore EUR 12 279 244.

Conclusion

The proposed mobilisation requires an amendment to the 2018 budget and a draft amending budget (N°4/2018), aiming at increasing budget line 13 06 01 'Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy' by EUR 33 992 206 both in commitment and payment appropriations.

The total amount available for the mobilisation of the EUSF at the beginning of 2018 was EUR 421 142 057, being the sum of the remaining 2018 allocation and the remaining 2017 allocation that remained unspent and was carried over to 2018.

The amount that may be mobilised at this stage of the year 2018 is EUR 173 389 397. This corresponds to the total amount available for the mobilisation of the EUSF at the beginning of 2018 (EUR 421 142 057), minus the retained amount of EUR 143 585 709 in order to respect the obligation of keeping aside 25 % of the 2018 annual allocation until 1 October 2018 as stipulated by Article 10(1) of the MFF regulation and minus EUR 104 166 951 mobilised for Greece, Spain, France and Portugal earlier this year(1).

Member States should apply the financial aid rapidly and in a transparent way, guaranteeing a fair distribution throughout the affected regions.

The Rapporteur supports Member States using Structural and Investment Funds for the reconstruction of the affected regions, and invites the Commission to support and rapidly approve the reallocation of the partnership agreements requested by Member States for the reconstruction of these regions.

The Rapporteur recommends the swift approval of the Commission proposal for a decision annexed to this report, in sign of solidarity with the affected regions.

(1)

  Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal (COM(2018) 150, 22.2.2018) and the accompanying Draft Amending Budget No 1/2018 (COM(2018) 150, 22.2.2018).


ANNEX – LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Translation

Subject:  Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland

Dear Mr Arthuis,

The European Commission has transmitted to the European Parliament its proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (COM(2018)0360), on the basis of the applications to mobilise the Fund submitted by Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland further to a series of natural disasters that took place in these countries in the course of 2017.

The Commission proposes the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, estimating the damages caused by the disasters as follows:

Member States

 

Qualification of disaster

Total direct damage

 

(million EUR)

Major disaster threshold

 

(million EUR)

2,5% of direct damage up to threshold

(EUR)

6% of direct damage above threshold

(EUR)

Total amount of aid proposed

 

(EUR)

Advances paid

 

(EUR)

BULGARIA

Regional

(Art. 2(3))

90,329

288,020

2 258 225

-

2 258 225

0

GREECE

Regional

(Art. 2(3))

101,432

1 057,800

2 535 796

-

2 535 796

0

LITHUANIA

Major

(Art. 2(2))

407,366

214,944

5 373 600

11 545 341

16 918 941

0

POLAND

Regional

(Art. 2(4))

491,170

2 501,280

12 279 244

-

12 279 244

0

 

TOTAL

33 992 206

0

The Commission proposes a Draft Amending Budget (DAB) No 4 for the year 2018 (COM(2018)0361 final) in order to cover the above-mentioned proposed mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, by increasing budget article 13 06 01 (Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy) by EUR 33 992 206 both in commitment and in payment appropriations.

The Committee coordinators have assessed this proposal, and asked me to write to you reporting that the majority of this Committee has no objection to this mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to allocate the above-mentioned amount as proposed by the Commission, and supports the corresponding DAB No 4/2018 as proposed by the Commission.

(Closing formula and signature)


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

29.8.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

33

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Jean Arthuis, Reimer Böge, Gérard Deprez, Manuel dos Santos, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Esteban González Pons, Ingeborg Gräßle, Iris Hoffmann, Monika Hohlmeier, John Howarth, Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Vladimír Maňka, Jan Olbrycht, Younous Omarjee, Răzvan Popa, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Patricija Šulin, Indrek Tarand, Isabelle Thomas, Inese Vaidere, Daniele Viotti, Tiemo Wölken, Marco Zanni

Substitutes present for the final vote

Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Janusz Lewandowski, Ivana Maletić, Ivan Štefanec, Marco Valli


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

33

+

ALDE

Nedzhmi Ali, Jean Arthuis, Gérard Deprez

ECR

Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk

EFDD

Marco Valli

ENF

Marco Zanni

GUE/NGL

Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Younous Omarjee

PPE

Reimer Böge, José Manuel Fernandes, Esteban González Pons, Ingeborg Gräßle, Monika Hohlmeier, Janusz Lewandowski, Ivana Maletić, Jan Olbrycht, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Ivan Štefanec, Patricija Šulin, Inese Vaidere

S&D

Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Iris Hoffmann, John Howarth, Vladimír Maňka, Răzvan Popa, Manuel dos Santos, Isabelle Thomas, Daniele Viotti, Tiemo Wölken

VERTS/ALE

Indrek Tarand

0

-

 

 

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 5 September 2018Legal notice