The European Commission is proposing to reform the EU Solidarity Fund, making it more responsive and straightforward to use with clearer criteria as to who can benefit.
As well as simplifying the existing rules, the reform encourages Member States to put disaster prevention and risk management strategies higher on the agenda. The benefit of this has been proven time after time – most recently, by the floods in Central Europe in 2013 which were greater in scope than the floods that affected the same region 12 years ago, but caused far less loss of life and damage thanks to the implementation of preventive measures. As Commissioner Georgieva often says, one euro invested in prevention saves between four and seven euros in disaster damage.
During the new 2014-20 financing period, risk prevention will be one of the key priorities of cohesion policy for which considerable money could be called upon when Member States develop their new Structural Funds programmes. In addition, disaster prevention related EU legislation is to be implemented, in particular the floods directive and the upcoming revision of disaster management legislation, expected to come into force by the end of the year, which envisages better risk monitoring and closer cooperation on both prevention and response.