Brussels, 30 April 2013
EU Solidarity Fund: Commission proposes €14.6 million to support Slovenia, Croatia and Austria after floods disaster
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn has today announced an aid package from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) of over €14.6 million in response to serious flooding in Slovenia in October and November 2012. Neighbouring countries Austria and Croatia also suffered lesser damages as a direct result of the floods and will benefit from the grant in order to fund their emergency operations in the aftermath of the disaster.
Commissioner Hahn, who is also responsible for the EUSF, commented: "Today’s proposal is an expression of the Union’s solidarity with Slovenia as well as with the parts of Croatia and Austria which were affected. The amount of funding proposed will help to offset the financial burden that they have incurred in restoring infrastructure and in taking emergency measures. It will help these affected regions to get back on their feet. The Commission is proposing an amending budget so that the Council and Parliament can make the resources available to reduce the negative effects on the Slovenian economy and its neighbours.
Intense rainfall in autumn 2012 caused the rivers in the area to burst their banks, flooding wider parts of northern Slovenia as well as on the territory of Croatia. In Austria the town of Lavamünd on the Lavant river was particularly affected. The Commission's analysis found that the flooding in all three countries was caused by a single underlying meteorological condition. This allows the EUSF to be mobilised not only for the major disaster in Slovenia, but exceptionally for the affected neighbouring countries as well.
In line with the rules of the Solidarity Fund, the Commission proposes a total of €14.6m to be granted to the three countries, of which €14.08m for Slovenia, €286,587 for Croatia and €240,000 for Austria.
Slovenia was affected by a first wave of intense rainfall on 27 October 2012 causing severe damage, and a second wave of heavy rain and stormy weather leading to extensive flooding on 4-5 November. The national authorities estimated total damage worth nearly €360m, representing over 1% of the country’s GNI - well above the normal EUSF threshold of €214m for Slovenia or 0.6% of Gross National Income. Croatia and Austria reported damage costing €11.5m and €9.6m respectively.
This European Union funding will help meet the cost of urgent measures taken by the national authorities in each of the three affected countries: rebuilding of roads, water, waste and energy infrastructures, temporary accommodation and rescue services, as well as cleaning up of disaster-stricken zones. The funding may not be used to provide compensation for damage to private property.
The EUSF was created after the floods which affected central Europe during the summer of 2002. It grants financial aid of up to one billion euro a year to Member States and accession countries affected by major natural disasters.