Procedure : 2020/2068(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0105/2020

Texts tabled :

A9-0105/2020

Debates :

Votes :

PV 18/06/2020 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2020)0142

<Date>{02/06/2020}2.6.2020</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0105/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 203kWORD 57k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria</Titre>

<DocRef>(COM(2020)0200 – C9‑0127/2020 – 2020/2068(BUD))</DocRef>


<Commission>{BUDG}Committee on Budgets</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>José Manuel Fernandes</Depute>

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria

(COM(2020)0200 – C9‑0127/2020 – 2020/2068(BUD))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0200 – C9‑0127/2020),

 having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund[1],

 having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020[2], and in particular Article 10 thereof,

 having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management[3], and in particular point 11 thereof,

 having regard to the letter from the Committee on Regional Development,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0105/2020),

1. Welcomes the decision as a sign of the Union’s solidarity with the Union citizens and regions hit by natural disasters;

2. Stresses the urgent need to release financial assistance through the European Union Solidarity Fund (‘the Fund’) to the regions affected by natural disasters in the Union in 2019;

3.  Considers that the financial assistance released to the Member States shall be subject to a fair distribution to the most affected regions and areas;

4. Points out that, due to climate change, natural disasters will become more and more violent and more and more recurrent; calls for a reform of the  Fund in the forthcoming multiannual financial framework  in order to take into account the future consequences of climate change, while stressing that the Fund is only a curative instrument and that climate change requires primarily a preventive policy in line with the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal;

5. Recalls that, according to Articles 174 and 349 TFEU, the European Union shall pursue its actions leading to the strengthening of its territorial cohesion and taking into account the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions; points out that the same natural disaster in an outermost region has a greater social and economic impact than in any other European region and consequently the recovery is slower; believes, therefore, that the outermost regions should benefit from increased funding under the scope of the Fund;

6. Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

7. Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund[4], and in particular Article 4(3) thereof,

Having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management[5], and in particular point 11 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1) The European Union Solidarity Fund ('the Fund') aims to enable the Union to respond in a rapid, efficient and flexible manner to emergency situations in order to show solidarity with the population of regions struck by natural disasters.

(2) The Fund is not to exceed a maximum annual amount of EUR 500 000 000 (2011 prices), as laid down in Article 10 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013[6].

(3) On 8 November 2019, Portugal submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following extreme weather events in Azores.

(4) On 28 November 2019, Spain submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following extreme rainfall resulting in flooding in the regions of Valencia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia.

(5) On 10 January 2020, Italy submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following extreme weather events in 17 regions in the autumn of 2019.

(6) On 29 January 2020, Austria submitted application to mobilise the Fund, following extreme weather events in November 2019.

(7) The applications by Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria meet the conditions for providing a financial contribution from the Fund, as laid down in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002.

(8) The Fund should therefore be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria.

(9) In order to minimise the time taken to mobilise the Fund, this Decision should apply from the date of its adoption;

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

For the general budget of the Union for the financial year 2020, the European Union Solidarity Fund shall be mobilised as follows in commitment and payment appropriations:

(a) the amount of EUR 8 212 697 shall be provided to Portugal;

(b) the amount of EUR 56 743 358 shall be provided to Spain;

(c) the amount of EUR 211 707 982 shall be provided to Italy;

(d) the amount of EUR 2 329 777 shall be provided to Austria.

Article 2

This Decision shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

It shall apply from … [the date of its adoption].

Done at Brussels,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

 


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission proposes to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (hereafter ‘the Fund’) to grant financial assistance relating to extreme weather events that took place in the fall of 2019 in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria.

Portugal - Hurricane

In October 2019, Hurricane Lorenzo passed through the Azores, causing severe damage to public infrastructures, such as harbours, water, energy and communication networks, roads, airports, schools and hospitals. The disaster also greatly affected private infrastructures, businesses, the fisheries and agricultural sectors and tourism.

In their application, received by the Commission on 8 November 2019, the Portuguese authorities estimated the total direct damage at EUR 328,5 million or 8,4 % of the affected region’s GDP. This is well above the threshold value for mobilising the EUSF in a NUTS 2 level region, which is 1 % of regional GDP in the case of outermost regions, such as the Azores. Thus, the disaster qualifies as a ‘regional natural disaster’ within the meaning of Article 2(3) of the EUSF Regulation.

Portugal estimated the total cost of eligible essential emergency and recovery operations, as defined under Article 3(2) of the Regulation, at EUR 279,3 million. This almost fully concerns costs for the restoration of transport infrastructure, in particular harbours.

The affected region falls in the category of ‘less developed regions’ under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for the 2014-2020 financing period. The Portuguese authorities did not declare their intention to reallocate funding from the ESIF programmes towards recovery measures.

In line with past practice, the Commission proposes applying the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage for cases under the ‘regional disaster’ provision. The total amount of assistance proposed is therefore EUR 8 212 697.

Portugal requested the payment of an advance as laid down in Article 4a of the Regulation. On 11 December 2019 the Commission adopted an Implementing Decision awarding a 10 % advance, equivalent to EUR 821 270, on the EU’s anticipated financial contribution. The advance was paid out in full.

 

Spain - Flooding

In September 2019, a rare meteorological phenomenon described as “isolated high altitude depression” affected the south east of Spain. The phenomenon is characterised by extreme rainfall, which in this case exceeded the records of the past 140 years and resulted in severe flooding in large areas of Valencia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia. The disaster cost the lives of 8 persons, forced thousands of people to evacuate and caused significant damage to roads, railway and airport infrastructure, water networks, protective infrastructure, the environment and private homes. Also, significant erosion occurred on beaches and coastal infrastructure was damaged.

In their application of 28 November 2019 which, upon the Commission’s request, was updated on 18 December 2019 and 29 January 2020, the Spanish authorities presented damage estimates of EUR 2 269,7 million, corresponding to 2,65 % of the weighted regional GDP (average GDP weighted by the share of damage in each region). All four affected regions (Comunidad Valenciana, Región de Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalucía) are NUTS level 2 regions. As a result, the application qualifies under the criteria for a ‘regional disaster’ as laid down in Article 2(3) of the Regulation, according to which the threshold value for direct damage is 1,5 % of a region’s GDP.

The cost of emergency and recovery operations was estimated at EUR 650,6 million, with the largest shares for cleaning up operations and repairs to infrastructure.

Three of the affected regions (Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia) are so-called ‘transition regions’ under the ESIF, while the Communidad Valenciana is a ‘more developed region’. No intention to reallocate ESIF funding towards recovery measures was signalled.

Again, in line with past practice, the Commission proposes applying the rate of 2,5 % of total direct damage for cases under the ‘regional disaster’ provision. The total amount of aid proposed is thus EUR 56 743 358.

Spain requested the payment of an advance. On 13 February 2020, the Commission adopted an Implementing Decision awarding a 10 % advance on the Fund’s anticipated financial contribution.  A corresponding amount of EUR 5 674 336 was subsequently paid out in full.

 

Italy - Extreme weather events

In late October and November 2019, a series of connected extreme weather events affected most of the Italian territory from north to south, leading to severe damage from flooding and landslides and culminating in the disastrous flooding of Venice. 17 regions suffered damage, with Veneto, Piedmont, Liguria, Sicily and Emilia Romagna most affected. Veneto alone, in particular the severe flooding of the city of Venice, accounted for almost one third (EUR 1,8 billion) of total damage. According to the Commission’s analysis, the weather events under this application can be considered a single event from a meteorological point of view.

In all concerned regions the disaster caused major disruptions to the road network through landslides and fallen trees, disruption of river networks, slope movements and flooding of public and private buildings. The extreme weather caused major losses for the wood related economy, agriculture and tourism, significant damage to Natura 2000 protected sites, and disruptions at sewerage systems treatment plants, electrical power and gas networks.

In Veneto, flooding caused enormous damage to public and private properties, commercial and economic industrial activities, and tertiary services. A tidal peak of over 187 cm above sea level led to the flooding of over 85 % of the city of Venice, causing significant damage to the artistic and cultural heritage of the historic centre, including considerable damage to artefacts and paper assets such as books, manuscripts and archives.

The Italian authorities applied for a contribution from the Fund on 10 January 2020. Total direct damage was estimated at EUR 5 619,878 million, i.e. over 157 % of the threshold for a ‘major natural disaster’ applicable to Italy (damage over EUR 3 billion in 2011 prices).

The cost of emergency and recovery operations was estimated by the Italian authorities at EUR 1 110,1 million, with the largest shares concerning 1) expenditure for restoring preventive infrastructure and the protection of the cultural heritage, and 2) costs for the restauration of essential infrastructure.

Out of the 17 affected regions, five qualify as ‘less developed regions’ under the ESI Funds 2014-2020 (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily), Abruzzo qualifies as a ‘region in transition’, whereas the others are ‘more developed regions’. Italy did not signal to the Commission its intention to reallocate funding from the ESI Fund programmes towards recovery measures; nor did it request the payment of an advance.

The Commission takes the view that, in line with past practice, aid should be progressive, with a rate of 2,5 % applying to the portion of the damage below the ‘major natural disaster’ threshold (i.e. 0,6 % of GNI or EUR 3 billion in 2011 prices, whichever is the lower amount) and 6 % to the part of the damage above this threshold. In this specific case, the financial contribution from the EUSF thus calculated totals EUR 211 707 982.

 

Austria

In November 2019, the south-west of Austria suffered from severe flooding, particularly in Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol, both Alpine areas bordering on Italy. The extreme weather was triggered by the same meteorological conditions as in Italy and caused considerable damage to essential public infrastructure (mostly roads, bridges and railways), private homes and businesses. Unusual snowfall and avalanches caused damage in forestry.

The Austrian authorities applied for a contribution from the Fund on 29 January 2020 and submitted updated information on 9 March 2020. The total direct damage estimate of EUR 93,2 million is considerably below the threshold for a ‘major natural disaster’ applicable to Austria (damage over 0,6 % of Austria’s GNI or EUR 2 307,9 million). It also remains below the threshold for a so-called ‘regional disaster’ (1,5 % of regional GDP weighted according to the damage share in the affected regions). However, as the disaster was caused by the same meteorological conditions as the major disaster in Italy, the application is eligible under the so-called ‘neighbouring country provision’ described in Article 2(4) of the Regulation.

The cost of emergency and recovery operations was estimated by the Austrian authorities at EUR 61,3 million. The largest shares concern expenditure for repairing the transport network and measures against soil erosion.

The affected regions are ‘more developed regions’ under the ESIF. The Austrian authorities did not request the payment of an advance. They declared their intention to use funds under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development for protective forest recreation measures.

The Commission proposes applying the usual 2,5 % rate for disasters under the ‘neighbouring country’ provision, thus arriving at a proposed total financial contribution from the Fund of EUR 2 329 777.

 

Conclusion

The total amount proposed to be mobilised for Spain, Portugal, Italy and Austria is EUR 278 993 814. This requires an amendment to the 2020 budget by means of a draft amending budget. Considering the amount of EUR 6 495 606 already disbursed as advance payments, DAB 4/2020 (COM(2020)190) aims at increasing budget line 13 06 01 'Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy' by EUR 272 498 208 in both commitment and payment appropriations.

The total amount available at the start of 2020 was EUR 1 150 524 045, i.e. the sum of the 2020 allocation (EUR 597 546 284) and the portion of the 2019 allocation that remained unspent and was carried over to 2020 (EUR 552 977 761).

This is the first mobilisation decision of 2020. It leaves available an amount of EUR 722 143 660 until 1 October 2020, well above the amount legally required to be retained until that date in accordance with Article 10(1) of the MFF regulation (25% of the total 2020 annual allocation, i.e. EUR 149 386 571).

The Rapporteur recommends the swift approval of the Commission proposal for a decision annexed to this report, leading to the rapid mobilisation of the aforementioned amounts, as a sign of European solidarity with the four Member States concerned. The rapporteur urges that this financial contribution should be delivered with particular urgency to the Member States, since these natural disasters already occurred in 2019.

 

 

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Mr Johan Van Overtveldt

Chair

Committee on Budgets

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)02002020/2068(BUD))</DocRef>

Dear Mr Chair,

A Commission proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria (COM(2020)0200) has been referred for opinion to the Committee on Regional Development. I understand that it is intended that a report on this will be soon adopted in the Committee on Budgets.

 

This proposal would mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund as follows:

(a) the amount of EUR 8 212 697 is to be provided to Portugal to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Lorenzo in the Azores in October 2019;

(b) the amount of EUR 56 743 358 is to be provided to Spain to help with the aftermath of flooding in the regions of Valencia, Murcia, Castile-La Mancha and Andalusia in September 2019;

(c) the amount of EUR 211 707 982 is to be provided to Italy to help with the aftermath of extreme weather events in the autumn of 2019, which particularly affected Veneto, Piedmont, Liguria, Sicily and Emilia Romagna;

(d) the amount of EUR 2 329 777 is to be provided to Austria to help with the aftermath of severe flooding in south-western parts of Austria, in particular in Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol.

 

The rules applicable to financial contributions from the EUSF are laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund.

 

The committee coordinators have assessed this proposal, and asked me to write to you reporting that the majority of this committee has no objection to this mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to allocate the above-mentioned amounts as proposed by the Commission.

 

Yours sincerely,

Younous Omarjee

 

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

28.5.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Rasmus Andresen, Clotilde Armand, Robert Biedroń, Anna Bonfrisco, Olivier Chastel, Lefteris Christoforou, David Cormand, Paolo De Castro, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Alexandra Geese, Valentino Grant, Elisabetta Gualmini, Francisco Guerreiro, Valerie Hayer, Eero Heinäluoma, Niclas Herbst, Monika Hohlmeier, Moritz Körner, Joachim Kuhs, Ioannis Lagos, Hélène Laporte, Pierre Larrouturou, Janusz Lewandowski, Margarida Marques, Siegfried Mureşan, Victor Negrescu, Andrey Novakov, Jan Olbrycht, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Karlo Ressler, Bogdan Rzońca, Nils Torvalds, Nils Ušakovs, Rainer Wieland, Angelika Winzig

Substitutes present for the final vote

Fabienne Keller, Petros Kokkalis

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

38

+

ECR

Bogdan Rzońca

GUE/NGL

Petros Kokkalis, Dimitrios Papadimoulis

ID

Anna Bonfrisco, Valentino Grant, Joachim Kuhs, Hélène Laporte

NI

Ioannis Lagos

PPE

Lefteris Christoforou, José Manuel Fernandes, Niclas Herbst, Monika Hohlmeier, Janusz Lewandowski, Siegfried Mureşan, Andrey Novakov, Jan Olbrycht, Karlo Ressler, Rainer Wieland Angelika Winzig

RENEW

Clotilde Armand, Olivier Chastel, Valerie Hayer, Fabienne Keller, Moritz Körner, Nils Torvalds

S&D

Robert Biedroń, Paolo De Castro, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Elisabetta Gualmini, Eero Heinäluoma, Pierre Larrouturou, Margarida Marques, Victor Negrescu, Nils Ušakovs

VERTS/ALE

Rasmus Andresen, David Cormand, Alexandra Geese, Francisco Guerreiro

 

0

-

NI

 

 

0

0

ID

 

 

 

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1] OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.

[2] OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.

[3] OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.

[4] OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.

[5] OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.

[6] Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884).

 Date to be inserted by the Parliament before the publication in OJ.

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