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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

EU:s solidaritetsfond inrättades för att snabbt kunna ge stöd vid större naturkatastrofer och hjälpa katastrofdrabbade områden i Europa. Fonden kom till efter de svåra översvämningarna i Centraleuropa sommaren 2002 och har sedan dess hjälpt till vid 63 katastrofer i 24 olika länder. Det har handlat om översvämningar, skogsbränder, jordbävningar, stormar och torka. Fonden har hittills bidragit med mer än 3.7 miljarder euro. Lista över insatser PDF en

Hur söker man bidrag?

Kommissionen måste få ansökan inom 12 veckor efter dagen för den första skadan orsakad av katastrofen.

Det är bäst att direkt kontakta den ansvariga enheten på EU-kommissionens generaldirektorat för regionalpolitik (enhet D1), som kan ge råd som påskyndar handläggningen.

Den här sidan uppdateras regelbundet. Vänligen ladda ner ansökningsblankettens senaste version.

  • Ansökningsblankett ( 11-07-2014) Word en
  • Riktlinjer Word en
  • Tröskelvärden för större katastrofer PDF en
  • Tröskelvärden för större katastrofer PDF en
  • Hur man beräknar tröskelvärdet för katastrofer som berör flera regioner (baserat på regionernas vägda genomsnittliga BNP) xls en
  • Hur mycket pengar kan man få? PDF en

Kommissionen behandlar ansökan och om ansökan accepteras föreslås ett lämpligt stödbelopp till Europaparlamentet och rådet, som måste godkänna beloppet innan det kan betalas ut. När anslagsmedlen blir tillgängliga i EU:s budget tar kommissionen ett beslut om att ge stöd till berörd stat. Sedan betalas stödet ut direkt i en enda utbetalning. När stödet betalats ut ansvarar berörd stat för implementeringen, inklusive val av åtgärder och revision och kontroll av dessa. Akuta åtgärder kan finansieras retroaktivt redan från katastrofens första dag.

Det bör noteras att EU:s solidaritetsfond inte är ett instrument för snabbt stöd för att hantera följderna av en naturkatastrof. Ekonomiskt stöd kan endast beviljas till det ansökande landet efter ett ansöknings- och budgetförfarande som kan dröja flera månader.

Kontaktpersoner

Europeiska kommissionen
GD regional- och stadspolitik
Enhet E1/EUSF
1049 Bryssel
Belgien
Johannes Wachter
Tel: +32 2 296 65 15
Andrea Lamprecht
Tel: +32 2 298 10 68

Mer information finns på English >

In what cases does the EUSF assist?

The EUSF

The EUSF can provide financial aid to Member States and countries engaged in accession negotiations in the event of a major natural disaster if total direct damage caused by the disaster exceeds €3 billion at 2011 prices or 0.6% of the country's gross national income, whichever is the lower. A neighbouring Member State or accession country that is affected by the same disaster as an eligible country for which a major disaster has been recognised can also receive aid, even if the amount of damage does not reach the threshold.

The Fund can also be mobilised in the event of a regional disaster.

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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