Seven applications for a total of €126.7 million in EU aid to help Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria cope with the aftermath of natural disasters in 2013 and 2014 have been approved by Parliament.


Disaster

Direct damage (million €)

Total amount of aid (€)

Italy floods

652

16,310,467

Greece earthquake

147

3,683,320

Slovenia ice / storm

428

18,388,478

Croatia ice / floods

291

8,616,263

Serbia floods

1,105

60,224,605

Croatia floods

297

8,959,725

Bulgaria floods

311

10,542,110

TOTAL

 

126,724,968


In November 2013, Italy, in particular Sardinia, were affected by extreme rainfall, leading to severe floods.


The Greek island of Cephalonia suffered a major earthquake, of a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale, followed by a dozen aftershocks, in January and February 2014. The earthquake left some 3,000 people homeless.


In the same period, Slovenia suffered some of the worst winter blizzards for decades. Almost half the country’s forests were damaged by ice, which in turn brought down electricity lines, leaving homes without power.


As the weather system moved on, it hit neighboring Croatia, in particular, in the northwest and parts of the Adriatic Coast. Melting ice led to floods that caused additional damage.


In May 2014, another bout of severe weather hit eastern Croatia, causing floods. The same rains caused the worst floods in living memory in neighboring Serbia where public and private infrastructure was massively destroyed.


Heavy rain hit Bulgaria in June 2014, flooding the country with precipitation up to four times the monthly climatic norm.


The applications were approved in two rounds:

  • €46.9 million to Italy, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia was approved by 651 votes to 26, with 7 abstentions;
  • €79.7 million to Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria was approved by 665 votes to 30, with 8 abstentions.

 

Background

 

The EUSF was set up in 2002 to help EU member states and countries preparing to join the EU that are hit by natural disasters. With an annual budget of €500 million, the fund has been tapped 63 times in 24 countries for a total amount of €3.7 billion, according to Commission data. The applications have to be approved both by Parliament and the Council.