Extracts from the press conference by Ville Itälä, Member of the European Court of Auditors, on the EU Solidarity Fund’s response to the 2009 Abruzzi earthquake
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 25/02/2013 First transmission: 25/02/2013
On 25 February 2013, Ville Itälä, Member of the European Court of Auditors, presented an Audit of the European Court of Auditors on the European Union Solidarity Fund’s response to the 2009 Abruzzi earthquake.
Following a report from the EU auditors, the European Commission is to clarify rules on financing “temporary accommodation” following natural disasters. The report examined events following the April 2009 earthquake that hit the Italian Abruzzi region and its capital city of L’Aquila, causing direct damage estimated at more than € 10 billion. In November 2009, the European Union contributed € 0.5 billion to the Italian emergency operations from its European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Cutaway of a sign
||Ville Itälä, Member of the European Court of Auditors
||Cutaway of a journalist
||Soundbite by Ville Itälä (in ENGLISH): The expenditure of immediate needs and on small temporary housing unit and school was fully compliant with the EU Solidarity Fund regulation. However, the project misused a majority of the funding. It did not comply with the provision of the EU Solidarity Fund regulation. The reason was that it actually constructed the permanent new buildings instead of temporary houses. It was easy to understand why it was done this way since we took into account the fact that the reconstruction work would not be carried out within the short frame time. The EU Solidarity Fund regulation can only be used by emergency operation and not therefore it does not cover the operation which create permanent structures.
||Soundbite by Ville Itälä (in ENGLISH): First of all, the houses of the project were not ready before the winter, so there were so many people who couldn't move before the winter. The second one is that the houses were too expensive and the third rule is that this was not following the rules of the Solidarity Fund regulation. So, there are three main points that we criticize.
||Soundbite by Ville Itälä (in ENGLISH): Nothing is wrong to build nice houses but if you don't follow regulation, the houses are nice but if 11 thousand people are not able to move before the winter, then the planning was not good.
||Soundbite by Ville Itälä (in ENGLISH): I think the most important is that everyone should be better prepared for this kind of disaster, and have an updated preparation plan, so that we can be better prepared. It is very important.
||Departure of Ville Itälä