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A faster, simpler and more efficient response for Europe's disaster-stricken regions

(16 April 2014)

A faster, simpler and more efficient response for Europe's disaster-stricken regions

This Wednesday, the European Parliament is expected to approve a simpler and better system of solidarity and financial assistance to rebuild and recover European regions affected by natural disaster. At a press conference in Strasbourg, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn highlighted the changes to the EU solidarity Fund, already informally agreed with EU ministers, as a 'streamlined and simplified system that benefits all Europe'. These include a longer aid application deadline (increased from 10 to 12 weeks); a faster response time (reimbursement expected to take an average 6 months instead of 9); a possibility of advance payments up to 10% where the application is likely to be approved, and clearer criteria for “regional”, disasters (a damage threshold of 1.5% of the region's gross domestic product), allowing the Commission to assess applications more quickly. Since 2002 the EU Solidarity Fund has responded to disasters in 23 countries and paid out more than €3.5 billion, with the lead recipients being Italy, Germany, France, Austria, the UK and the Czech Republic. 'It is an instrument of true solidarity which is open to all' said Commissioner Hahn, who expressed confidence in the approval by the European Parliament. In this context he thanked MEP, Danuta Hübner, chair of the REGI committee and rapporteur Rosa Estarás Ferragut for the constructive co-operation. 

For further information please also refer to MEMO/14/306