Parliament approves €104.2m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal
- Natural disasters in 2017 caused deaths and widespread destruction
- The EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) aid will help repair damage caused by forest fires in Portugal and Spain, hurricanes in French overseas territories and earthquakes in Greece
EUSF aid worth €104.2 million, to support reconstruction in Greece, Spain, France and Portugal following natural disasters in 2017, was approved by MEPs on Wednesday.
The aid includes €50.6 million for reconstruction in Portugal’s Centro region following violent forest fires in June and October 2017, and €3.2 million for Spain, to repair damage in the neighbouring region of Galicia.
France will receive €49 million to repair damage done by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the French overseas territories of Saint Martin and Guadeloupe in September 2017. Finally, Greece will get €1.3 million to repair homes, businesses and infrastructure in the aftermath of the Lesbos earthquakes of June 2017.
The report by rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) was approved by 629 votes to 21, with 9 abstentions. The requisite draft amending budget No 1/2018, by rapporteur Siegfried Mureșan (EPP, RO), was approved by 650 votes to 28, with 1 abstention.
The Council approved the aid on 14 May. With the European Parliament’s green light, the funds will be available within weeks.
The EUSF was set up in 2002 in response to disastrous flooding in central Europe in the summer of that year. Since then, repair work after more than 80 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €5 billion.
In the latest cases, the aid will pay for reconstruction work and cover some of the costs of emergency services, temporary accommodation, clean-up operations and protecting cultural heritage, to reduce the financial burden on national authorities.