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PV 16/06/2010 - 19
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PV 17/06/2010 - 7.17
CRE 17/06/2010 - 7.17
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Thursday, 17 June 2010 - Strasbourg
Floods in central European countries, in particular Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, and in France

European Parliament resolution of 17 June 2010 on the floods in central European countries, in particular Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, and in France

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 3 of the EU Treaty and Articles 191 and 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation establishing a European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) (COM(2005)0108) and to Parliament's position of 18 May 2006,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 5 September 2002 on floods in Europe(1), of 8 September 2005 on natural disasters (fires and floods) in Europe(2), of 18 May 2006 on natural disasters (forest fires, droughts and floods) – agricultural aspects, regional development aspects and environmental aspects(3) and of 7 September 2006 on forest fires and floods(4),

–  having regard to the Commission White Paper entitled ‘Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action’ (COM(2009)0147) and to the Commission Communication on a Community approach on the prevention of natural and man-made disasters (COM(2009)0082),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled ‘Regions 2020 - an assessment of future challenges for EU regions’ (SEC(2008)2868),

–  having regard to the statement by the Commission on the major natural disaster which occurred in the autonomous region of Madeira on 24 February 2010 and to its resolution of 11 March 2010 on the major natural disasters in the autonomous region of Madeira and the effects of the storm ‘Xynthia’ in Europe(5),

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas major natural disasters have occurred, in the form of floods in various European Union Member States, particularly Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, as well as in Germany and Austria, and recently in France, resulting in deaths and injuries and necessitating the evacuation of thousands of people,

B.  whereas those disasters have caused serious damage, including to infrastructure, businesses and arable land, have also destroyed elements of natural and cultural heritage, and have probably created public health risks,

C.  whereas sustainable reconstruction of the areas destroyed or damaged by the disasters must be undertaken in order to make good their economic and social losses,

D.  whereas the frequency, severity, complexity and impact of natural and man-made disasters across Europe has increased rapidly in recent years,

1.  Expresses its empathy and solidarity with the inhabitants of the regions affected by the disasters, takes due note of the possible serious economic effects, and pays its respects and extends its condolences to the families of the victims;

2.  Acknowledges the relentless efforts made by search-and-rescue units to save lives and reduce the damage in the affected areas;

3.  Applauds the actions of the Member States that provided assistance to the areas affected, as European solidarity is exemplified by mutual assistance in adverse situations;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to review planning, sustainable land use policies, ecosystem absorption capacities and best practices in the light of the increased risks of flooding stemming from the way land, habitats and drainage systems are managed and to increase the capacity of flood-control and drainage infrastructure in order to limit the damage caused by extreme rainfall;

5.  Calls on the Member States and regions affected by the disasters to pay particular attention to the sustainability of their respective reconstruction plans and to consider the feasibility of long-term investment in Member States' disaster-prevention and response policies;

6.  Calls on the Member States to fulfil the requirements laid down in and to implement the EU Floods Directive; urges that flood-risk maps should be taken into account in territorial planning management; stresses that effective flood prevention has to be based on cross-border strategies; encourages neighbouring Member States to step up their cooperation in dealing with prevention of natural disasters, thereby ensuring that the best possible use is made of EU funds allocated for this purpose;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide support for the areas affected by the economic and social impact of the disasters in the swiftest possible manner;

8.  Reiterates that a new EUSF regulation, based on the Commission proposal (COM(2005)0108), is vitally needed in order to address the problems caused by natural disasters in a more flexible and effective way; criticises the fact that the Council has blocked the proposal, even though Parliament adopted its position by an overwhelming majority at first reading in May 2006; urges the Belgian Presidency and the Commission to seek a solution without delay in order to reactivate the revision of this regulation, with a view to creating a stronger and more flexible instrument which will be able to respond effectively to the new challenges of climate change;

9.  Calls on the Commission, following the submission by national and regional authorities of their respective reconstruction plans, immediately to take steps to ensure that the financial resources required are disbursed as swiftly, effectively and flexibly as possible by the EUSF;

10.  Urges the Commission, in addition to mobilising the EUSF, to be open and flexible when negotiating with national and regional authorities the revision of the regional operational programmes for the period 2007-2013 financed from the ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund; calls on the Commission to proceed with this revision as soon as possible;

11.  Calls on the Commission to take into account the differences between the regions affected, which include mountain and riverside areas, with a view to assisting the victims in the best possible manner;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and regional and local authorities in the affected areas.

(1) OJ C 272 E, 13.11.2003, p. 471.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2005)0334.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0222, 0223 and 0224.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0349.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0065.

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