EU Solidarity Fund
The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was set up to respond to major natural disasters and express European solidarity to disaster-stricken regions within Europe. The Fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used for 80 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. 24 different European countries have been supported so far for an amount of over 5 billion €. Click for a list of all interventions
How to apply?
Any application has to be received by the Commission within 12 weeks of the date of the first damage caused by the disaster. In case of slowly unfolding disasters, such as droughts or health emergencies, this deadline is set at 12 weeks after the first official action against the emergency. For COVID-19 special conditions apply (See dedicated page).
It is strongly recommended that the body responsible for preparing an application establishes early direct contact with the service in charge in DG Regional and Urban Policy who can offer a range of advice that will help to speed up the application procedure as much as possible.
This page is updated regularly, please download the latest version of the application form for natural disasters. For health emergencies, please find here the dedicated forms.
- Application form (Last update: 16-11-2017)
- Guidance note (Last update: 16-11-2017)
- Thresholds for major disasters
- Thresholds for regional disasters
- How to determine the threshold for disasters affecting several regions (based on weighted average GDP)
- How much money can you expect?
- Guidance on implementation, closure and auditing processes
The Commission assesses the application and - if the application is accepted - proposes an amount of aid to the European Parliament and the Council who have to approve it. Once the appropriations become available in the EU budget the Commission adopts a decision awarding the aid to the affected State, which receives it immediately and in a single instalment. Once the aid is paid out, the affected State is responsible for the implementation including the selection of operations and their audit and control. Emergency measures may be financed retroactively from day one of the disaster.
It is worth noting that the EUSF is not a rapid response instrument for dealing with the effects of a natural disaster. Financial aid can only be granted to the applying State following an application and budgetary process which can take several months to complete.
- Regulation (EU) No 461/2020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30/03/2020 amending Council regulation (EC) No 2012/2002
- EU Solidarity Fund Regulation as amended in 2014 (consolidated version)
- Regulation (EU) No 661/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002
- Regulation setting up the EUSF (Regulation (EC) n° 2012/2002 of the Council of 11 November 2002, OJ L 311)
In May 2019 the Commission published a major evaluation of the work of the Fund since its creation in 2002 and providing recommendations for the future. The evaluation underlines the high added value of the Fund to support emergency and recovery efforts and to alleviate the financial burden on national and regional authorities. The Fund has provided €5.2 billion, including a record-high €1.2 billion for the 2016/2017 earthquakes in Central Italy.
The report has also identified room for improvement in terms of speed, coherence, effectiveness and public awareness of the interventions.
DG Regional and Urban Policy
phone: +32 2 296 65 15
phone: +32 229-66062
phone: +32 2 295 36 09