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MEMO/05/287

Brussels, 26th August 2005

European Union Solidarity Fund

  • Background: The EUSF was created after the floods in Central Europe in summer 2002. It entered into force on 15 November 2002. Member States and countries negotiating accession (RO/BG) can request aid in the event of a major natural disaster.
  • Assistance: The EUSF provides financial aid for emergency measures in the event of a major natural disaster (i.e. direct damage above € 3 billion (at 2002 prices) or 0.6% of the gross national income, whichever is the lower). Exceptionally, it can be mobilised even if the threshold is not met: 1) for a neighbouring State that is affected by the same major disaster; 2) for extraordinary regional disasters affecting the majority of the population of a region and having serious and lasting effects on its economic stability and living conditions. 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, putting infrastructures back in operation, provisional accommodation, cleaning up etc).
  • Annual budget: The Commission decides the amount of any aid and proposes its mobilisation to the budgetary authority (European Parliament and Council). The maximum annual budget that can be mobilised is € 1 billion per year. However, the actual amount that is mobilised varies from year to year, depending on the occurrence of disasters (2002: EUR 728 m; 2003: EUR 107.1 m; 2004 : EUR 19.6 m). The amount available annually for extraordinary regional disasters is limited to 7.5% of the EUSF's annual budget (€ 75 million).
  • Aid amount: A country affected by a disaster receives a lower rate of aid of 2.5% for the part of the damage below the threshold of 0.6% of GNI or € 3 billion and a higher share of aid of 6% for the part of the damage exceeding the threshold. This ensures that for the same amount of damage relatively poorer countries would receive more aid in absolute terms than richer ones.
  • Procedure: The national authorities should submit an application to the Commission no later than 10 weeks after the first damage. The Commission then assesses the application and decides whether to activate the EUSF together with the amount of any aid and proposes its mobilisation to the budgetary authority (EP and Council). The aid is paid out in a single instalment after the signing of an implementation agreement with beneficiary State.
  • The grant shell be used within one year after the date of receipt; any part of the grant remained unused by that date shall be recovered by the Commission. No later than six months after the expiry of the one year period from the date of receipt, the beneficiary State shall present a report on the financial execution of the grant, a statement justifying the expenditure, as well as detail the preventive measures introduced or proposed in order to limit damage or avoid, to the extent possible, a recurrence of similar disasters

EU Solidarity Fund Applications since 2002

(last update 26/08/05)
Year
Country
Nature of the disaster
Damage
(million €)
Category
Aid granted
(million €)
Receipt of EUSF aid on national level[1]
2
0
0
2
1
AT
Flooding
2 900
major
134
27/12/02
2
CZ
Flooding
2 300
major
129
13/1/03
3
FR
Flooding (Le Gard)
835
regional
21
27/12/02
4
DE
Flooding
9 100
major
444
29/12/02
Total aid 2002


728

2
0
0
3
1
ES
Oil spill (Prestige)
436
regional
8.626
29/03/2004
2
IT
Earthquake (Molise/Apulia)
1 558
regional
30.826
11/03/2004
3
IT
Volcanic eruption (Etna)
894
regional
16.798
11/03/2004
4
IT
Flooding (North Italy)
1 900
(major)
Rejection
n/a
5
GR
Adverse winter weather
not clear
(major)
Rejection
n/a
6
PT
Forest fires
1 228
major
48.539
02/12/2003
7
FR
Forest fires (Southern France)
531
(regional)
Rejection
n/a
8
ES
Forest fires (Portuguese border)
53
bordering country
1.331
06/09/2004 (payment date)
9
MT
Flooding
30
major
0.961
12/11/2004 (payment date)
10
IT
Flooding (Friuli Venezia-Giulia)
525
regional
Rejection
n/a
Total aid 2003


107.081

2
0
0
4
1
FR
Flooding (Rhone delta)
785
regional
19.625
07/07/2004
2
ES
Flooding (Malaga)
73
(regional)
Rejection
n/a
3-9
ES
Forest fires (7 applications)
(480)
(regional)
all 7 rejection
n/a
10
SK
Flooding
29
(regional)
Rejection
n/a
11
SI
Earthquake
13
(regional)
withdrawn
n/a
Total aid 2004


19.625


Year
Country
Nature of the disaster
Damage
(million €)*
Category*
Aid granted
(million €)
Receipt of EUSF aid on national level
2
0
0
5
1
SK
Storm (Tatras)
202.733
major
5.668 m€ proposed**

2
IT
Flooding (Sardinia)
223
(over-estimated)
(regional)
Rejection

3
EE
Storm
47.868
major
~ 1.3m€ proposed**

4
LV
Storm
192.590
major
~ 9,5m€ proposed**

5
SE
Storm
2297.313
major
~ 81,7 m€ proposed**

6
LT
Storm
15.156
neighbouring country
~ 0.38m€ proposed**

7
EL
Evros flooding
(134.967)
(regional)
pending

8
RO
Spring flooding
(488.730)
(major)
pending

9
BG
Spring flooding
(75)
(regional)
pending

10
BG
Summer flooding
(234)
(major)
pending

11
RO
Summer flooding


application announced for ~10/9/05

Total aid 2005


-

Grand total of aid granted since 2002


€ 854.706 million

*Data in italics are subject to verification by the Commission

** Positive Commission decision taken, approval of corresponding budget appropriations by Parliament and Council pending

Statistical overview

Total n° of applications received since 2002
of which major disasters
regional disasters
neighbouring country
35
14
19
2

40 % of applications
54 %
6 %
Applications accepted
Applications rejected
Applications withdrawn
Decision pending
16
14
1
4
46 % of applications
40 %
3 %
11 %


[1] The EUSF aid has to be used within one year from the date of arrival of the grant at the first account in the beneficiary country. No later than six months after the expiry of the one-year period the beneficiary country has to present an Implementation report with the Statement of validity.


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