Evaluation of the European Union Solidarity Fund 2002-2017 (2019)

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European solidarity fund

The European Union Solidarity Fund is a policy instrument created in 2002 to support EU interventions in situations of large disasters in EU Member States and accession countries such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, drought and other natural disasters. The Fund can be mobilised upon an application from the concerned country provided that the disaster event has a dimension justifying intervention at European level.

Between 2002 and 2017, the EU Solidarity Fund mobilised EUR 5.24 billion for interventions in 84 disaster events in 23 Member States and 1 accession country. Around 90% of these resources were allocated to disasters generating significant damage at national level, primarily for assistance with earthquakes, floods and storms. The types of operations for which the Fund can provide financial assistance include: i) restoring damaged essential infrastructure in the field of energy, water and waste water, telecommunications, transport, health and education, ii) providing temporary shelter for displaced population and contributing to rescue operations, iii) securing preventive infrastructure and protecting cultural heritage, and iv) cleaning up of disaster stricken-areas.

In 2014 the regulatory framework of the Fund was revised such that its operations are now regulated by Council Regulation (EC) 2002/2012 as amended by Regulation (EU) 661/2014. The 2014 reform introduced a number of changes in the activity of the Fund, of which important changes refer to the clarification of admissibility criteria for applications for regional disasters, the extension of the regulatory deadline for applications, the extension of the implementation period, and the introduction of advance payments.

The evaluation of the EU Solidarity Fund looks into the effectiveness and time efficiency of the mobilisation and implementation of the Fund, the effects of the 2014 reform, and the synergies between the EU Solidarity Fund and other EU policy instruments for disaster risk management. The analysis addresses also the stakeholders’ perceptions of the Fund’s EU added value, and its role in inspiring further policy developments in national systems for preparedness, prevention and management of disaster risks.

The evaluation concludes that the European Union Solidarity Fund is a valuable instrument in the EU toolkit for interventions in disaster situations, bringing EU added value to the post-disaster response in Member States and accession countries. The evaluation also calls for further consideration to be given to policy actions that increase the potential for the Fund to intervene.

  • Executive summary PDF de en fr
  • Staff working document: Evaluation of EU Solidarity Fund 2002-2017 PDF en
  • EUSF support to Austria PDF en en
  • EUSF support to Italy PDF en en
  • EUSF support to Italy following the earthquakes PDF en en
  • EUSF support to Romania PDF en en

More information on the European Union Solidarity Fund

Reference documents from the external evaluation study:

  • Terms of reference PDF en
  • Interim report PDF en
  • Case studies:
    • Austria – Flood 2013 en
    • Bulgaria – Severe winter 2015 en
    • Greece – Forest fires 2007 en
    • Italy – Earthquake 2012 en
    • Portugal – Flood 2010 en
    • Romania – Flood 2014 en
    • Serbia – Flood 2014 en
    • Overview case studies en
    • Media survey en
  • Final report en
  • Executive summary PDF de en fr