Earthquake victims in Italy's Emilia Romagna region will get €670 million in EU solidarity aid voted by MEPs in plenary session on Wednesday. The Budgets Committee approved the aid last week.
On 20 May 2012, an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale severely damaged many towns and villages in northern Italy, mostly in the Emilia-Romagna provinces of Modena and Ferrara. On 29 May, the same regions were hit by a second earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. Both quakes were followed by several serious aftershocks.
The earthquakes caused 27 deaths and an estimated 350 people were injured. Over 45 000 people had to be evacuated. There was serious and widespread damage to buildings, infrastructure, businesses, industrial facilities, agriculture and cultural heritage.
The Italian authorities estimated the total direct damage at €13 billion. This amount represents 0.86 % of Italy's GNI and is almost four times greater than the Solidarity Fund trigger threshold.
Nevertheless, the decision on funding was delayed, long after the May 2012 earthquake, by a dispute between the Commission and Parliament on the one hand, and the Council on the other about where it should come from. In the end, during the negotiations over the 2013 budget, member states agreed to add the funding to the EU's 2012 budget.
The resolution was approved with 661 votes in favour, 17 against and 6 abstentions.
Vote: Wednesday, 21 November