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EU Solidarity Fund: Commission moves to help Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria after May's major floods

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, has today announced an aid package worth nearly €80 million proposed by the European Commission for Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria after flooding disasters struck the countries in May and June 2014.

The proposed aid of €60.2m to Serbia, €8.96m to Croatia and €10.5m to Bulgaria is to help cover part of the emergency costs incurred by the public authorities in these three countries due to the disasters. In particular, it will help to restore vital infrastructure and services, reimburse the cost of emergency and rescue operations, and help cover some of the clean-up costs in the disaster-stricken regions.

Serbia, which is currently in negotiations to join the EU - and therefore eligible for the Fund - suffered the worst of the damage. The floods most severely hit the districts of Kolubara, Mačva, Moravcki, Pomoravlje, and part of Belgrade, with detrimental effects for some 1.6 million inhabitants. Essential power links were damaged, while drinking water suffers on-going pollution.

Commissioner Hahn, who oversees the Fund and signed today’s proposal, said "This decision reflects the very nature of this Fund, which is solidarity with our fellow Member States and those counties negotiating accession in their time of need after natural disasters. The European Solidarity Fund helps these countries get back on their feet and regain stability which is threatened by the severe damage to economic sectors such as tourism, or destruction of essential infrastructure. This proposed support will help Serbia, Bulgaria and Croatia to recover from the terrible flooding earlier this year and it will help to reimburse rescue and clean-up costs in the affected regions."

He added: These amounts are specific and targeted to help address the immediate and direct impact of natural disasters. We have now approved these grants at the Commission. We also reformed the EU Solidarity Fund rules which entered into force on 28 June 2014 and simplified the existing system and criteria so that aid can be paid out more rapidly than before. Now we trust member states will also show solidarity and stand by their commitments in swiftly agreeing the funds set aside for this purpose."

More information

Il Fondo di solidarietà dell'Unione europea (FSUE) è nato per rispondere alle grandi calamità naturali ed esprimere la solidarietà europea alle regioni colpite all'interno dell'UE. Il Fondo è stato istituito a seguito delle gravi inondazioni che hanno devastato l'Europa centrale nell'estate del 2002. Da allora è stato utilizzato ben 63 volte in risposta a diversi tipi di catastrofi, tra cui inondazioni, incendi forestali, terremoti, tempeste e siccità. Finora sono stati erogati oltre 3.7 miliardi di euro a favore di 24 paesi europei. Elenco degli interventi PDF en

Come presentare una domanda di contributo

La domanda di contributo deve pervenire alla Commissione entro 12 settimane a partire dal primo danno subito.

Si consiglia vivamente agli organismi incaricati di preparare la domanda di stabilire quanto prima un contatto diretto con il servizio competente della DG Politica regionale, che potrà fornire consigli per accelerare il più possibile la relativa procedura.

Questa pagina viene aggiornata regolarmente. Scaricare l'ultima versione del modulo per le domande di contributo.

  • Modulo per le domande di contributo ( 11-07-2014) Word en
  • Note orientative Word en
  • Soglie per le principali catastrofi PDF en
  • Soglie per le catastrofi regionali PDF en
  • Come determinare la soglia per le calamità che colpiscono diverse regioni (sulla base della media ponderata del PIL) xls en
  • Possibile entità del contributo? PDF en

La Commissione valuta la richiesta e, se la richiesta viene accettata, propone l’ammontare dell’aiuto al Consiglio e al Parlamento europeo che devono darne approvazione prima dell’erogazione dell’importo. Quando i fondi sono disponibili nel bilancio dell’UE la Commissione decide di assegnare l’aiuto allo Stato colpito. Successivamente, l’importo viene erogato immediatamente in un’unica soluzione. Una volta erogato l’importo, lo Stato interessato è responsabile dell’utilizzo dei fondi e dovrà occuparsi anche della scelta delle operazioni da eseguire e dell’esecuzione delle attività di verifica e controllo. Le misure di emergenza possono essere finanziate retroattivamente a partire dal giorno in cui si è verificata la calamità.

Va ricordato che il FSUE non è uno strumento di risposta rapida per far fronte alle conseguenze di una calamità naturale. L'aiuto può essere concesso allo Stato interessato soltanto a seguito di una domanda e al termine di una procedura finanziaria, il cui completamento può richiedere diversi mesi.

Contatti

Commissione europea
DG Politica regionale e urbana
Unità E1/EUSF
B-1049 Bruxelles
Belgio
Johannes Wachter
tel.: +32 2 296 65 15
Andrea Lamprecht
tel.: +32 2 298 10 68

Maggiori informazioni English >

In what cases does the EUSF assist?

The EUSFThe EUSF can provide financial aid to Member States and countries engaged in accession negotiations

a. in the event of a 'major disaster': total direct damage exceeding € 3 billion at 2011 prices or 0.6% of the GNI of the affected State, whichever is the lower.
b. in the event for smaller, so-called ‘regional disasters': total direct damage exceeding 1.5% of regional GDP (at NUTS2 level). For outermost regions the threshold of 1% of regional GDP is applied.
c. in the event that an eligible State is affected by the same major disaster as an eligible neighbouring State.

With what budget?

Solidarity Fund aid can be mobilised up to a maximum annual total of € 500 million (in 2011 prices) plus the unspent allocation from the preceding year which is raised over and above the normal EU budget. Individual grants have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council following a proposal from the Commission. One quarter of this amount must remain available on 1 October of every year to meet possible needs through to the end of the year. In exceptional cases and if the resources remaining for the rest of the year are insufficient, the shortfall may be met out of the next year's budget.

For what actions?

The EUSF

The EUSF supplements Member States' public expenditure for the following essential emergency operations:

  • Immediate restoration to working order of infrastructure and plant in the fields of energy, drinking water, waste water, transport, telecommunications, health and education
  • Providing temporary accommodation and emergency services to meet the immediate needs of the population;
  • Immediate securing of prevention infrastructures and measures to protect the cultural heritage;
  • Cleaning up of disaster-stricken areas, including natural zones.

The EUSF was not set up with the aim of meeting all the costs linked to natural disasters. The Fund is limited in principle to non-insurable damage and does not compensate for private losses. Long-term action – such as lasting reconstruction, economic redevelopment and prevention – are not eligible for EUSF aid. It could, however, qualify for aid under other instruments, most notably the Structural Funds and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Examples

Austria - Flooding of August 2005 (regional disaster)

In August 2005, heavy flooding occurred in parts of two Austrian Länder Vorarlberg and Tyrol. The flooding caused severe damage to the agricultural sector, to tourism, residential properties and businesses, to the transport network and other infrastructure. The total direct damage was estimated at EUR 591.94 million which represents approximately 0.27 % of Austria's GNI. Since the figure is lower than the applicable threshold for mobilising the Solidarity Fund for major disasters (0.6 % of Austria's GNI, i.e. EUR 1.3363 billion), the application was therefore examined under exceptional criteria for so-called extraordinary regional disasters. The Commission came to the conclusion that the application provided sufficient evidence to allow exceptionally mobilising the Solidarity Fund and to grant financial aid amounting to EUR 14.79 million. The aid was used for:

  1. the immediate restoration to working order of infrastructure, in particular in restoration of state roads. Total EUSF contribution: EUR 9.86 million.
  2. the immediate securing of preventive infrastructures, in particular of restoration of damaged embankments of water courses, including the removal of trees and rubble, damming, stabilisation and restoration of river beds. Total EUSF contribution: EUR 4.93 million.

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