EU solidarity in action: Commission proposes €86.7 million for the recent natural disasters in France and Greece

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the European Commission is proposing a financial support of €86.7 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to provide relief to the population of several regions in France and Greece hit by natural disasters in 2020.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said: “Last week the Commission proposed an important package of support from the EU Solidarity Fund to Member States coping with the consequences of the health emergency, including France and Greece. Today, we are also lending a helping hand to the populations of those two countries that have suffered from natural disasters in 2020. This is the face of EU solidarity: making sure that no one is left behind.

The 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.

Next steps

The European Parliament and the Council need to approve today’s proposal for assistance. Once the Commission’s proposal is approved, the final financial aid can be paid out.

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. Since April 2020, in the framework of the EU efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the scope of the EUSF was extended to cover major public health emergencies. On 11 March the Commission proposed a 530 million package to help 17 Member States and three accession countries deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. On 18 March 2021, the Commission received a new EUSF application from Croatia in relation to the series of earthquakes that hit Sisak-Moslavina and other Croatian counties starting from 28 December 2020, claiming a total direct damage of more than €5.5 billion. The application is currently under assessment.

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