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European Commission


Brussels, 7 June 2013


"As powerful floods have been hitting central Europe, tens of thousands of Germans, Austrians and Czechs need Europe's help. In the past those countries have shown great solidarity by helping other fellow member states struck by natural disasters, notably through the EU Solidarity Fund. Today it is our duty to show the same solidarity towards them.

I want to state categorically that the EU Commission stands ready to help them. The Solidarity Fund is there for all those in need following a natural disaster, and I want German, Austrian and Czech citizens to know that I will do everything I can to ensure that the moment their governments ask for the help of the Solidarity Fund, Europe delivers fast. It is a promise.

We should draw lessons from this year as we are entering the final stage of the negotiations on the EU's next financial period (2014-2020). This natural disaster, with the human and financial costs it entails, should encourage us to make sure that in future, the EU budget will be able to fulfil its first and most important function: to help Member States and European citizens at large in a spirit of solidarity.

By definition, natural disasters are unforeseen. For the European Union to be able to provide the best help in the shortest possible time, tomorrow's EU budget needs to be governed by modern, flexible rules.

I believe all the parties around the negotiating table share this view. The crucial hurdle to overcome now is about the precise shape and extent of such flexibility."

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