European Union Solidarity Fund

23-01-2017

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes or forest fires. With an annual budget of €500 million, EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order, providing temporary accommodation, or cleaning up disaster areas. Although revision of the EUSF Regulation took place in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems remain. While European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, industry experts report that certain Member States receive proportionately more funding than others, also pointing to the risk that the EUSF could run out of funding in the event of several large disasters taking place within a short space of time. With a number of major natural disasters occurring over the past year, the EUSF has attracted renewed attention in recent months, a process that has seen the European Commission put forward new proposals addressing the issue of post-disaster support. The European Parliament is also actively involved in these discussions, adopting a resolution on the EUSF in December 2016, including several measures aimed at improving its operations.

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes or forest fires. With an annual budget of €500 million, EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order, providing temporary accommodation, or cleaning up disaster areas. Although revision of the EUSF Regulation took place in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems remain. While European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, industry experts report that certain Member States receive proportionately more funding than others, also pointing to the risk that the EUSF could run out of funding in the event of several large disasters taking place within a short space of time. With a number of major natural disasters occurring over the past year, the EUSF has attracted renewed attention in recent months, a process that has seen the European Commission put forward new proposals addressing the issue of post-disaster support. The European Parliament is also actively involved in these discussions, adopting a resolution on the EUSF in December 2016, including several measures aimed at improving its operations.