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Tuesday, 23 November 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

3. Natural disasters in the European Union
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  Julie Girling, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, my group also extends its sincere condolences to those affected. I have very personal experience of this; indeed, it was the flooding in my own region which first brought me into contact with the European Parliament and indeed inspired me to become a Member eventually, so the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund in that event was certainly a big event for me. Only this week, we have had further flooding in Cornwall, which is in my region.

My point has already been made by Mr Sterckx, but I think it bears repetition. I think that early warnings are important, but we all know how quickly the weather moves and how quickly the weather changes. I wonder if it is really a good use of money to put a lot into early warnings on weather, which are already really there. It is about what you do when you get the warnings. As Mr Sterckx has said, Europe could certainly add a great deal of value by having a situation in which we could learn from each other.

I know in the case of Gloucestershire, where I came from, we were greatly helped after the floods by connections most particularly with Austrian regions, where they had major experience of flooding in highly elevated areas. We did not have that.

I think it would be a very good idea for the Commission to focus on setting up some regional connections so that we can learn from each other about how we cope with this, because it clearly is not going to go away.

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