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  • Natural disasters in 2017 were the cause of deaths and widespread destruction  
  • The EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) aid should help repair damage caused by floods in Bulgaria and Lithuania, earthquakes in Greece and storms in Poland. 

EUSF aid worth €34 million, to support reconstruction in Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria following natural disasters in 2017, was approved by the Budgets Committee on Wednesday.

The aid, which still needs to be confirmed by plenary and Council, includes €16,918,941 for reconstruction in Lithuania, following continuous rainfall and floods which damaged drainage systems, dams and roads as well as agricultural lands throughout the summer and autumn of 2017. The money can be used to help cover the costs of restoring the network and water management infrastructure.

Poland will receive €12,279,244 to repair damage caused by violent storms and heavy rainfall in the three regions of Kuyavian-Pomeranian, Pomeranian and Greater Poland, destroying tens of thousands of hectares of forests and crops as well as transport and energy infrastructure. Storms and floods also hit the region of Burgas, in south-eastern Bulgaria, which will receive €2,258,225 in EUSF aid.

Finally, Greece will receive €2,535,796 to repair severe damage to parts of the island of Kos caused by an earthquake in July 2017.

The draft report by rapporteur Janusz Lewandowski (EPP, PL) was approved by 33 votes with none against, and no abstentions. The requisite draft amending budget No 4/2018, by rapporteur Siegfried Mureșan (EPP, RO), was approved by 33 votes with none against, and no abstentions.

Factsheets on EUSF aid to Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland can be found online on the EU Commission’s website. More background can be found in the Commission’s proposal and the Parliament’s draft report.

Next steps

The Council is expected to approve the aid by 4 September. As soon as the European Parliament gives its green light during the September plenary session, the funds will be available within weeks.

Background

The EUSF was set up in 2002 in response to disastrous flooding in central Europe in the summer of that year. Since then, after more than 80 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — 24 EU countries have received EUSF aid totalling more than €5 billion for repair work.

Money from the EU Solidarity Fund can be used to support reconstruction efforts and cover some of the costs of emergency services, temporary accommodation, clean-up operations and the protection of cultural heritage, in order to relieve the financial burden borne by national authorities in the wake of natural disasters.