European Union Solidarity Fund

28-06-2018

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 a revision of the EUSF Regulation took place in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems still remain. European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, while industry experts also point 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 years, the EUSF has attracted renewed attention, leading the European Commission to put forward new proposals addressing the issue of post-disaster support. Parliament was also actively involved in these discussions, adopting a resolution on the EUSF in December 2016 which included several measures aimed at improving its operations, also calling on Member States to use ESI funds to invest in disaster prevention. Recent developments, such as new rules that allow reconstruction operations to be financed under the European Regional Development Fund and the proposal for a reinforced Civil Protection Mechanism, have helped create greater coherence between the EUSF and other EU measures. Perhaps most importantly, by complementing the work of the EUSF, these measures have the potential to improve the effectiveness of the EU's disaster prevention and response operations. The planned increase in the EUSF budget outlined under the recent MFF proposal can also help contribute to this process by strengthening the EUSF's response capacity, yet these plans will be subject to tough negotiations in the Council and Parliament. The next few months will arguably be of critical importance for ensuring the continued strength of the EU's disaster response capabilities and, in particular, the EUSF's role within this process. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in January 2017, PE 595.896.

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 a revision of the EUSF Regulation took place in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems still remain. European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, while industry experts also point 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 years, the EUSF has attracted renewed attention, leading the European Commission to put forward new proposals addressing the issue of post-disaster support. Parliament was also actively involved in these discussions, adopting a resolution on the EUSF in December 2016 which included several measures aimed at improving its operations, also calling on Member States to use ESI funds to invest in disaster prevention. Recent developments, such as new rules that allow reconstruction operations to be financed under the European Regional Development Fund and the proposal for a reinforced Civil Protection Mechanism, have helped create greater coherence between the EUSF and other EU measures. Perhaps most importantly, by complementing the work of the EUSF, these measures have the potential to improve the effectiveness of the EU's disaster prevention and response operations. The planned increase in the EUSF budget outlined under the recent MFF proposal can also help contribute to this process by strengthening the EUSF's response capacity, yet these plans will be subject to tough negotiations in the Council and Parliament. The next few months will arguably be of critical importance for ensuring the continued strength of the EU's disaster response capabilities and, in particular, the EUSF's role within this process. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in January 2017, PE 595.896.