Making the EU Solidarity Fund faster and simpler for support after disasters
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn has today presented a proposal to reform the EU Solidarity Fund. The plans, adopted today by the European Commission, will make the fund more responsive and simpler to use with clearer criteria as to who can benefit.
Since its creation in 2002, the Solidarity Fund has responded to 52 disasters across Europe including earthquakes, forest fires, drought, storms and floods. 23 countries have been supported with more than €3.2 billion. If today's proposals are approved by the European Parliament and EU member states, disaster-hit countries and regions can expect significant improvements to the way the Solidarity Fund works.
The new legislative proposal simplifies the existing rules so that aid can be paid out more rapidly than is currently the case. 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.
- To clarify the scope of the Solidarity Fund limiting it to natural disasters and extending it to drought.
- Clearer rules on eligibility for regional disasters, introducing one single damage threshold for aid - 1.5% of regional gross domestic product
- Possibility of advance payments for the first time: 10% of anticipated contribution, capped at €30 million
- Shorter administrative procedure by merging two stages of approval and implementation into one agreement
- Introduction of measures to encourage disaster risk prevention strategies: reporting requirements and possible conditions for aid.
Question and answer : MEMO/13/723