Before Italy was struck by an earthquake at the end of May, it already suffered from flooding in Tuscany and Liguria in October 2011. Luckily, the EU is able to help restore the damage from the floods with more than €18 million from the European Solidarity Fund. The fund was set up in 2002 to respond to different natural catastrophic events such as floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. Boasting an annual budget of €1 billion, it has been used to help out in nearly 50 disasters.
Aid for Italy
On Tuesday 12 June MEPs voted in favour of a report by Portuguese Christian-Democrat José Manuel Fernandes approving more than €18 million euro to be used to repair extensive damage to businesses, homes and infrastructure caused by the October 2011 floods in Tuscany and Liguria. The report was adopted by the budget committee on 31 May 2012.
EUSF was established as a reaction to the devastating floods that hit Central Europe in summer 2002. So far EUSF had been used for emergency aid in 48 cases to help victims of major natural disasters. In total 23 Member States and EU accession countries have been supported for an amount of more than €2.5 billion. This includes €162.3 million for the UK to help with the damage caused by the June 2007 floods and €13 million for Ireland because of the November 2009 floods.
The European Commission published on 6 October 2011 a communication with proposals to make the EUSF simpler, clearer, quicker in response and more visible to citizens.