Extracts from the press conference by Johannes Hahn proposal to make the EU Solidarity Fund faster and simpler for support after disasters
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
At a press conference on 25 July 2013, Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, presented a proposal to reform the EU Solidarity Fund.
The plans will make the Fund more responsive and simpler to use with clearer criteria as to who can benefit.
The new legislative proposal simplifies the existing rules so that aid can be paid out more rapidly. The plans also introduce the possibility of advance payments for the first time. They spell out more clearly who and what will be eligible, particularly for regional disasters. As well as this, the reform encourages Member States to put disaster prevention and risk management strategies higher on the agenda. The principles of the Fund are unchanged as is the way it is financed, outside the normal EU budget.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Commission Berlaymont building
||General view of the press conference
||SOUNDBITE by Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, (in ENGLISH) saying that the Solidarity Fund was set up in 2002 after similar floods; since then, it has responded to 52 disasters across Europe including earthquakes, forest fires, drought, storms and floods; 23 EU countries have been supported with more than 3.2 billion euro; but the way the Fund works needs improving; it has to be more responsive so that countries and regions get financial support sooner; a shorter administrative process will make it simpler to use and faster because they plan to merge two stages into one approval and implementation agreement; the changes will make it simpler, clearer and quicker to get the money from the Solidarity Fund.
||Cutaway of a photographer
||SOUNDBITE by Johannes Hahn (in ENGLISH) on the key reforms of the Solidarity Fund: saying that it will be clearer on how and what is illegible, particularly for a regional disaster where one single criteria will be introduced; 1.5% of regional GDP will be the threshold; so regions know at the outset if they are eligible and the Commission's decision is faster.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Johannes Hahn (in ENGLISH) saying that by introducing advanced payments for the first time, we can make the Fund respond faster; advances set a 10% of anticipated aid but kept at 30 millions; this will allow a quicker reaction helping the countries to pay the cost of rebuilding regions and communities and to meet costs of emergency operations.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Johannes Hahn (in ENGLISH) saying that the Commission received the application of Germany; the amount there is around 8.2 billion euro; if the damage is verified, the scope of the reimbursements will be between 350 and 360 million euro; the Commission will make every effort to decide and to pay already in 2013; concerning the other countries affected by this flood disaster, their application is expected.