COVID-19 and natural disasters: MEPs approve €484.2m in EU aid for 20 countries 

Sajtóközlemény 
 
 
  • Nearly 87 million EUR following natural disasters in Greece and France 
  • Over 397 million EUR for Covid-19 support in 17 EU and 3 accession countries 
  • Aid from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) 

Budget MEPs approved €484.2 million in EU aid following natural disasters in France and Greece and for 20 countries in relation to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Members of the Committee on Budgets on Monday adopted a draft report by Eider Gardiazabal (S&D, ES), with 38 votes in favour, 1 against and no abstentions, to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to provide support for altogether 20 countries in relation to natural disasters and the Covid-19 public health emergency in 2020.


Support in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic


The €397.5 million in EU aid will contribute to the efforts deployed by 17 Member States and 3 accession countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Albania, Montenegro and Serbia) to safeguard public health in fighting the coronavirus. This funding will support part of their public expenditure on medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of the disease. Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal and Spain requested and received an advance on the anticipated contribution from the EUSF. The amount paid as an advance is deducted from the final payment.


You will find further information and a detailed breakdown of the aid for each country in the draft report. The full amounts, including the previous advance payments, can be found here.


Natural disasters in Greece and France


The €86.7 million aid package is composed as follows:


  • €59.3 million for France, following the severe damages caused by the storm Alex in Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur region in October 2020;
  • €21.6 million for Greece in relation to the damages caused by the Mediterranean Cyclone Ianos in September 2020;
  • €3.3 million for Greece's Sterea Ellada region heavily affected by the floods of August 2020;
  • €2.5 million for Greece to support emergency and recovery operations in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in the islands of Samos, Ikaria and Chios in October 2020.

France and Greece have already received advance payments for the four regional disasters.


You will find further information in the draft report.

Next steps


Once EP’s plenary has approved the assistance during the 17-20 May session, the final financial aid can be paid out. Council has approved it on 23 April.



Background


The EUSF was created after the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002, primarily to assist eligible countries in the emergency and recovery operations following natural disasters. Between 2002 and 2020, the EUSF has mobilised a total of over €6.5 billion for interventions in 96 disaster events in 23 Member States and 1 accession country. In the case of natural disasters, both major and regional, the funding can be used for essential emergency and recovery operations like repair of damaged infrastructure, protection for the population, securing preventive infrastructure and protection of cultural heritage, as well as clean-up operations. The EUSF is a special instrument of solidarity and is mobilised upon applications and the assessment of their eligibility. In the forthcoming programming period 2021-2027, it will be part of the newly established Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve.


In 2020, as part of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, the EUSF Regulation was amended to include major public health emergencies within the scope of the Fund, meaning that Covid-19-related spending is eligible for EUSF support.