On 26 January 2017 the Commission proposed to amend the current EU budget, making available EUR 71,525 million financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund to three Member States, hit by natural disasters in 2016.
EUR 60,3 million is allocated to the United Kingdom to supplement the public expenditure on emergency and recovery actions following the floods in 11 regions, caused by storms and heavy rainfalls. Consequences include thousands of homes and businesses flooded and a number of essential roads and bridges damaged or destroyed. The disaster led to loss of farm production and seriously affected the tourism business as well. The severe damage required series of emergency operations, including military personnel for the rescue efforts. The UK authorities estimated the total direct damage at EUR 2 412 million.
EUR 7,3 million is provided to Cyprus, where drought led to crop failure and water scarcity for population. Wild fires burned hundreds of hectares of forests. The severe damage required series of emergency and recovery measures, including massive intervention of firefighting services and immediate restauration of affected natural zones. The direct damages estimated by the Cypriot authorities at EUR 181million.
Financial assistance of EUR 3,9 million is allocated to Portugal following large wild fires in Madeira with a strong impact on daily life and property of the population of the island. The burnt area covered thousands of hectares, including homes, hotels and businesses, as well as protected territories belonging to "Natura 2000" network. The total direct damages estimated by the Portuguese authorities at EUR 157 million.
The European Union Solidarity Fund is a special instrument in the EU budget which enables the EU to provide support to Member States or accession countries, dealing with consequences of major natural disasters. The Fund can mobilize up to EUR 1 115 million in 2017 as the unused 2016 allocation of EUR 552 million doubled the available amount.
The proposal of the European Commission to amend the annual EU budget enters into force once approved by the European Parliament and the Council.
A draft amending budget (DAB) is a proposal to amend the adopted budget. By definition, any budget (be it of the EU, a Member State, a private company or a household) bases itself on forecasts and estimates of expenditures and revenues. Therefore, budgets may be amended in light of actual expenditures and revenues. Some amending budgets are presented regularly each year. The number of DABs presented by the Commission varies from one year to another.