Brussels, 11 November 2008
Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Ivan Žagar, the Slovenian Minister for Local Self-Government and Regional Policy, will sign an Implementing Agreement today to confirm € 8.25 million in aid for the Slovenian areas worst hit by the severe floods in September 2007. The grant is being made available through the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF). It will reimburse public funds spent on the immediate emergency response: restoring infrastructure, setting up temporary accommodation, activating rescue services and clean-up operations in affected areas.
Commissioner Hübner, who is responsible for Solidarity Fund, said: "Mobilising resources from the Solidarity Fund is a powerful expression of the EU's solidarity with Slovenia and the hardest-hit areas of the country. We are providing a further €185 million for flood prevention projects in the framework of the European Union's Cohesion Policy."
In September 2007, an extensive part of Slovenia was affected by heavy rain and storms, leading to severe flooding and landslides. The disaster caused significant damage to infrastructure, public and private buildings, agriculture and historical monuments. 350 km of national roads and more than 1600 km of secondary roads were damaged. The Slovenian authorities applied for assistance to the European Union in November 2007.
On 3 March 2008, the European Commission brought forward a proposal to the Council and the European Parliament (EU budgetary authority) to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to reimburse emergency public expenditure related to the floods. Today’s Implementing Agreement brings this support to fruition.
Notes for editors
The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was created after the floods which hit Central Europe in summer 2002. It grants emergency aid to Member States and acceding countries in the event of a major natural disaster.
To qualify for aid under the EUSF, countries must present an application containing a documented estimate of the damage. This is examined by the Commission in the light of criteria intended to ensure that EU funds are used to meet the most urgent needs.
In principle, payments from the Fund are limited to finance emergency operations undertaken by the public authorities alleviating non insurable damages (such as rescue services, restoring damaged infrastructure, provision of provisional accommodation, immediate clean-up operations etc).
The conditions for implementing the aid by the recipient must be laid down in an agreement between the Commission and the beneficiary country.
Since the beginning of 2008, the Commission has proposed payments from the Solidarity Fund for Greece (forest fires, summer 2007), Martinique and Guadeloupe (damage caused by Hurricane Dean in August 2007), and Cyprus (droughts in 2006-2008). The total annual budget available for the Solidarity Fund is €1 billion.
For more information, please consult the following website:
More information on the programme “development of environment and transport infrastructure” in Slovenia: MEMO/07/332.