REPORT on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Romania and Italy in relation to natural disasters in 2022 and to Türkiye in relation to the earthquakes in February 2023

20.9.2023 - (COM(2023)0381 – C9-0318/2023 – 2023/0297(BUD))

Committee on Budgets
Rapporteur: Katalin Cseh

Procedure : 2023/0297(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
A9-0269/2023
Texts tabled :
A9-0269/2023
Debates :
Texts adopted :

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Romania and Italy in relation to natural disasters in 2022 and to Türkiye in relation to the earthquakes in February 2023

(COM(2023)0381 – C9‑0318/2023 – 2023/0297(BUD))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council COM(2023)381 – C9‑0318/2023,

 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) 2020/2093 of 17 December 2020 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2021 to 2027[2], and in particular Article 9 thereof,

 having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2020 between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management, as well as on new own resources, including a roadmap towards the introduction of new own resources[3], and in particular point 10 thereof,

 having regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report on global warming of 1,5 °C, its special report on climate change and land, and its special report on the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate,

 having regard to the Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015 (the ‘Paris Agreement’),

 having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2021 on the review of the European Union Solidarity Fund[4],

 having regards to its resolution of 15 December 2022 on upscaling the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework: a resilient EU budget fit for new challenges[5],

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0269/2023),

A. whereas the central regions of Italy were affected by fluvial and flash flood events between 15 and 17 September 2022 resulting in total direct damages estimated by the Italian authorities at EUR 837,56 million;

 

B. whereas the south-eastern part of Romania suffered severe drought at the end of June - beginning of July 2022 resulting in total direct damages estimated by the Romanian authorities at EUR 1,31 billion;

 

C. whereas two major earthquakes of 7,8Mw and 7,5Mw magnitude[6] hit southern Türkiye in the region of Kahramanmaraş on 6 February 2023 and another powerful earthquake of 6,3 Mw hit the region of Hatay on 20 February 2023 resulting in total direct damages of EUR 78,8 billion according to the Commission;

 

1. Expresses its deepest solidarity with all the victims, their families and all the individuals affected by the drought in Romania, the destructive floods in Italy and the earthquakes in Türkiye, as well as with the national, regional and local authorities and non-governmental organisations involved in the relief efforts;

2. Welcomes the decision as a tangible and visible form of the Union’s solidarity with its citizens and the regions in the affected areas in Romania, Italy and Türkiye; reiterates the importance of communicating to the public the tangible benefits brought about by the the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), in order to further increase citizens’ trust in Union tools and programmes; calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up communication efforts to improve the public awareness of the interventions done with the financing under the EUSF;

3. Highlights the increasing number of severe and destructive natural disasters in Europe; underlines that due to climate change extreme weather events such as those observed in Romania and Italy resulting in emergencies are going to further intensify and multiply; stresses that the EUSF is only a curative instrument and that climate change primarily requires a preventive policy in line with the Union’s international commitments and the Green Deal; urges the Union therefore to strengthen its efforts to tackle climate change both in the Union and globally; calls in that regard for a revision of regulations (EC) No 2012/2002 and (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093 to better identify the allocations dedicated to the Member States and those dedicated to the third countries due to the limited amount of EUSF resources;

 

4.  Highlights that the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve (SEAR) is constantly exhausted and does therefore not enough to compensate the consequences of man-made and natural disasters particularly disasters related to climate change; stresses that funding is insufficient to cover the needs of areas affected by natural disasters; questions on a fundamental level whether the EUSF is adequately adapted to the future consequences of climate change; regrets that the maximum amount available for that EUSF mobilisation is much lower than the potential aid amount that could be covered; reiterates that the available resources for EUSF should be increased substantially as part of the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework; urges the Commission to increase the budget of the SEAR and to substantially reinforce the annual budget of the EUSF so that it can adequately respond to the intensification of natural disasters within the Union and provide tangible support to the Member States affected by it in light of the magnitude and the recurrence of these kind of emergencies, particularly emergencies related to climate change;

5.  Urges the Commission to come forward with a model for faster and timely mobilisation of the EUSF including the treatment of the applications, so as to allow the relevant authorities to address the restauration needs as soon as possible; recalls that the awarding, management and implementation of the EUSF grants should be as transparent as possible, and that the grants need to be used in line with the principles of sound financial management; stresses the urgent need to release financial assistance through the EUSF to ensure that support can reach the affected regions in a timely manner and provide the necessary assistance for the operations concerned, as requested by the Member States, such as for infrastructure rehabilitation, rescue services, including firefighting actions, restoration of the affected agricultural areas and provision of water;

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 Romania and Italy in relation to natural disasters in 2022 and to Türkiye in relation to the earthquakes in February 2023

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[7] and in particular Article 4(3) thereof,

Having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2020 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation on budgetary matters and on sound financial management as well as on new own resources, including a roadmap towards the introduction of new own resources[8], and in particular point 10 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 major or regional natural disasters or major public health emergency.

(2) The Fund is not to exceed the ceilings as laid down in Article 9 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093[9].

(3) On 6 September 2022, Romania submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following the drought in the summer of 2022.

(4) On 8 December 2022, Italy submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following the flood in the Marche Region in September 2022.

(5) On 20 April 2023, Türkiye submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, following the earthquakes in February 2023.

(6) The above mentioned applications meet the conditions for providing a financial contribution from the Fund, as laid down in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002.

(7) The Fund should therefore be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution to Romania, Italy and Türkiye.

(8) 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 2023, the European Union Solidarity Fund shall be mobilised as follows in commitment and payment appropriations in relation to natural disasters:

(a) the amount of EUR 33 895 935 shall be provided to Romania in relation to the drought in summer 2022;

(b) the amount of EUR 20 939 095 shall be provided to Italy in relation to the flood in the Marche Region in September 2022;

(c) the amount of EUR 400 000 000 shall be provided to Türkiye in relation to the earthquakes in February 2023.

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 ....,

For the European Parliament For the Council

 The President  The President

 

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission proposes to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to grant financial assistance for a global amount of EUR 454 835 030 relating to natural disasters that took place in Romania and Italy in 2022 and in Türkiye in 2023.

 

Romania –major disaster: drought

 

From March 2022, severe drought hit the south-eastern part of Romania particularly hard. Crops have been negatively impacted by the drought and two consecutive heatwaves at the end of June – beginning of July 2022. Precipitation arrived too late to compensate and alleviate vegetation and crop stress. As a result of wetter and cooler conditions at the end of August and the beginning of September, the hot and dry period receded in autumn. Romania was also one of the most heavily affected countries by wildfires in 2022. Data estimated by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show that about 163 536 hectares were burnt. In 2022, the wildfires in Romania were mainly concentrated in two regions, the western areas of the country in which the most affected vegetation types were forests and transitional shrub lands and the Danube delta on the East of the country, in which a great number of large fires occurred.

 

The Romanian authorities estimate the total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 1,31 billion. This amount exceeds the ‘major natural disaster’ threshold for Romania of 0,6% of the Gross National Income (GNI), which was EUR 1 290,495 million in 2022. Therefore, the disaster qualifies as a ‘major natural disaster’ according to Article 2(2) of the Regulation.

 

Italy- regional disaster: flood in the Marche Region

 

Between 15 and 17 September 2022, the central Italian regions were affected by intense rainfall resulting in fluvial and flash flood events. In particular, the storm cells that developed on the Umbrian side of the Apennines affected the mountain area of the Marche, ultimately producing intense and localized thunderstorms with remarkable precipitation depths on the 15 September. Due to the extreme meteorological event, the provinces of Pesaro-Urbino, Ancona, and Macerata, have experienced floodings and erosion along the main and secondary rivers, resulting in the destruction or damage of infrastructure, extensive flooding in the floodplain as well as damage to both public and private buildings and goods. Three rivers have also overtopped their banks and flooded the surrounding areas. The overall area affected by the extreme meteorological event represents 43% of the total land area of the Marche region. The consequences of the event were dramatic. In addition to the extensive economic losses, 12 people lost their lives.

 

The Italian authorities estimate the total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 837,56 million. This amount represents 1,98% of GDP of the Marche region, and it exceeds the applicable ‘regional disaster’ threshold of 1,5% of the Region’s GDP, which was EUR 635,88 million in 2022. In the light of the above, the disaster qualifies as a ‘regional natural disaster’.

 

Türkiye- major disaster: earthquakes

 

On 6 February 2023, two major earthquakes of 7,8Mw and 7,5Mw magnitude[10] hit southern Türkiye in the region of Kahramanmaraş (close to the border with northern Syria). The 7,8Mw earthquake of 6 February is the largest in Türkiye since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake of the same magnitude, and jointly the second strongest recorded in the history of the country, after the North Anatolia earthquake of 1668. As a result of these two earthquakes, more than 50 thousand people lost their lives and significant material losses were suffered in 11 provinces. According to damage assessment, close to 1 million buildings suffered damage, of which approximately 280 000 collapsed or sustained severe damage. The earthquakes severely damaged road, railway, communication, energy, natural gas supply networks and water infrastructure. An estimated 14 million people, or 16 % percent of Türkiye population, were affected. On 20 February 2023, another powerful earthquake of 6,3 Mw hit the region of Hatay. The seismic sequence was the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.

 

The Turkish authorities estimate the total direct damage caused by the disaster at EUR 81,7 billion. The Commission has accepted EUR 78,8 billion as plausible total direct damage. This amount exceeds the applicable ‘major natural disaster’ threshold for Türkiye of EUR 3 000 million in 2011 prices which corresponds to EUR 3 804,725 million in current prices in 2023. Therefore, the disaster qualifies as a ‘major natural disaster’ according to Article 2(2) of the Regulation.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The methodology for calculating the aid was set out in the 2002-2003 Annual Report on the EUSF and accepted by the Council and the European Parliament. The Commision therefore proposes to the budget authority to mobilise the following amounts for the applications from Romania and Italy:

 

Member States

Qualification of disaster

Total direct damage

(EUR)

Regional disaster threshold
( EUR)

Major disaster threshold(EUR)

2,5% of total direct damage (up to the threshold for major diasters) (EUR)

6% of direct damage above threshold (EUR)

Total amount of aid proposed(EUR)

Romania-drought

Major

(Art. 2(2))

1 317 721 000

N/A

1 290 495 000

32 262 375

1 633 560

33 895 935

Italy-flood

Regional

(Art. 2(3))

837 563 818

635 880 000

N/A

20 939 095

N/A

20 939 095

TOTAL

54 835 030

 

In accordance with Article 9(2) of the MFF Regulation, the overall annual ceiling of the SEAR is EUR 1 200 000 000 in 2018 prices or EUR 1 324 897 000 in current prices. Article 9(4) of the MFF Regulation stipulates that 25% of the overall annual SEAR allocation (EUR 331 224 250 in current prices for 2023) becomes available for all the components of SEAR as of 1 October. Also, in accordance with Article 9 (4) of the MFF Regulation, the maximum amount that can be mobilised by the EUSF is the 50% of the overall SEAR allocation after the decuction of the above mentioned 25%.

Therefore, the maximum amount that can be mobilised by the EUSF from the 2023 SEAR allocation at this stage is EUR 496 836 375. In accordance with Article 4a (4) of the EUSF Regulation, the amount of EUR 50 000 000 has been already inscribed in the General Budget 2023 for the payment of possible future advances.

 

Amount available under the EUSF in 2023:

 

Total annual 2023 SEAR allocation

1 324 897 000

Annual 2023 SEAR allocation earmarked for the EUSF 

496 836 375

- Amount to be mobilised for Romania and Italy

- 54 835 030

Remaining amount to be mobilised (including EUR 50 million inscribed in the Budget in accordance with Article 4a(4) of the EUSF Regulation)

442 001 345

 

 

As regards the application from Türkiye, the same methodology for calculating the EUSF aid as set out in the 2002-2003 Annual Report on the EUSF and accepted by the European Parliament and the Council is applied.

 

 

Qualification of disaster

Total direct damage

(EUR)

Major disaster threshold

(EUR)

2,5% of total direct damage up to the threshold

(EUR)

6% of direct damage above threshold (EUR)

Potential aid amount

(EUR)

Total amount of aid proposed (EUR)

Türkiye -earthquake

Major

(Art. 2(2))

78 799 164 182

3 804 725 000

95 118 125

4 499 666 351

4 594 784 476

400 000 000

 

The calculation of the potential EUSF aid for Türkiye leads to an amount which exceeds the budgetary availabilities at this stage. The Commission  proposes to mobilise the EUSF for Türkiye in line with the anticipated amount of the EUSF support within the Commission’s pledge at the International Donors’ conference on 20 March 2023, which is EUR 400 million. After this mobilisation, the remaining amount will be EUR 42 001 345.

 

 

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 Romania, Italy and Türkiye. The rapporteur calls on the Commission that this financial contribution should be delivered with particular urgency.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

20.9.2023

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

26

1

2

Members present for the final vote

Rasmus Andresen, Pietro Bartolo, Olivier Chastel, David Cormand, Pascal Durand, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Alexandra Geese, Vlad Gheorghe, Valérie Hayer, Eero Heinäluoma, Monika Hohlmeier, Moritz Körner, Joachim Kuhs, Margarida Marques, Victor Negrescu, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Karlo Ressler, Bogdan Rzońca, Eleni Stavrou, Nils Torvalds, Nils Ušakovs

Substitutes present for the final vote

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Martin Hojsík, Jan Olbrycht, Grzegorz Tobiszowski

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Asim Ademov, Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Daniel Freund, Ralf Seekatz

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

26

+

ECR

Bogdan Rzońca, Grzegorz Tobiszowski

PPE

Asim Ademov, Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Monika Hohlmeier, Jan Olbrycht, Karlo Ressler, Ralf Seekatz

Renew

Olivier Chastel, Vlad Gheorghe, Valérie Hayer, Martin Hojsík, Nils Torvalds

S&D

Pietro Bartolo, Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Pascal Durand, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Eero Heinäluoma, Margarida Marques, Victor Negrescu, Nils Ušakovs

The Left

Dimitrios Papadimoulis

Verts/ALE

Rasmus Andresen, David Cormand, Daniel Freund, Alexandra Geese

 

1

-

Renew

Moritz Körner

 

2

0

ID

Joachim Kuhs

PPE

Eleni Stavrou

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

Last updated: 21 September 2023
Legal notice - Privacy policy