In December 2015 and January 2016 heavy rainfall and strong winds led to flooding in parts of the United Kingdom. The flooding affected essential infrastructure, especially for transport, as well as public buildings, private homes, businesses and farmland in several regions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu said: "The EU Solidarity Fund lends a helping hand to populations affected by natural disasters. This financial aid will help cover the costs of emergency measures, clean-up operations and of the restoration of vital infrastructure."
The proposed aid of €60 million now has to be approved by the European Parliament and Council.
The EU Solidarity Fund was set up to support EU Member States and accession countries by offering financial assistance after natural disasters. The Fund was created in the wake of the severe floods in Central Europe during the summer of 2002.
Upon request from a Member State, EU Solidarity Fund assistance supplements public expenditure to finance essential emergency operations undertaken by the public authorities, such as:
- Restoration to working order of infrastructure for energy, water, transport, telecoms, health and education;
- Temporary accommodation and emergency services to meet the immediate needs of the population;
- Securing of preventive infrastructure such as dams and dykes;
- Measures to protect cultural heritage;
- Clean-up operations.
The annual allocation available for the EUSF in 2017 is €563 million. Adding the remainder of the allocation from last year, the total amount of the EU Solidarity Fund available during 2017 is over €1 billion.