EU Solidarity Fund: Commission proposes to mobilise almost €530 million to support emergency measures against the coronavirus pandemic
The European Commission is proposing an overall package of almost €530 million in financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) as an additional financial contribution to the efforts deployed by 17 Member States and three accession countries to fight the coronavirus health emergency.
When approved, this funding will cover part of the public expenditure incurred in financing medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of disease, thus safeguarding the public health.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said: “The EU Solidarity Fund is a concrete demonstration of the European solidarity, leaving no one behind. Since its creation, it has delivered effective assistance and relief to millions of people in need during difficult times. The Fund is once again accomplishing its core mission, being part of the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The aid package proposed today includes the €132.7 million in advance payments already received by Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal. The Commission is proposing the mobilisation of the EUSF for the final payments, following a thorough assessment of the applications submitted, ensuring consistency in the approach, equal treatment and complementarity with other EU funding sources.
The financial contribution proposed by the Commission has to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. The financial aid can be disbursed to the applicant countries shortly after the adoption.
As part of the exceptional EU response to the coronavirus outbreak, the scope of the EUSF was extended in March 2020 to cover major public health emergencies. The EUSF was created after the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002, primarily to assist eligible countries in the emergency and recovery operations following natural disasters. Between 2002 and 2020, the EUSF has mobilised a total of over €6.5 billion for interventions in 96 disaster events in 23 Member States and 1 accession country. The EUSF is a special instrument of solidarity and is mobilised over and above the normal EU budget, upon applications and the assessment of their eligibility. In 2021-2027, it is part of the newly established Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve. In 2020, the EUSF provided 683.7 million to Croatia to deal with the devastating effects of the earthquake in Zagreb and its surroundings back in March 2020 and €7 million to assist Poland in its reconstruction efforts following the floods in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship province in June this year. In 2021, the Commission has already authorised advance payments to France and Greece following regional disasters affecting their respective territories.