EP Seeks Easier Access to Solidarity Fund for Regions Struck by Natural Disasters

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The EP pointed to the difficulties faced by beneficiary countries when it comes to determining precise amounts of damage in very short periods of time. It said that climate change and the intensification of natural disasters were making member states increasingly vulnerable and that the EU should speed up aid disbursement to regions affected by natural disasters.

MEPs therefore called on the Commission to explore ways of removing administrative barriers and to demonstrate maximum flexibility in fund allocation.

Parliament called for special attention to be paid to outermost regions, islands and regions prone to seismic or volcanic activity that are the most at risk of natural disasters.

The report was adopted by 668 votes in favour, 10 against and 18 abstentions.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit said that 17 member states, including Croatia, and three accession countries had been allocated funds to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

He noted that Croatia was one of the countries that had been allocated the largest amount of financial aid, given that it was also struck by two strong earthquakes and a series of minor tremors. A total of €683.7 million was disbursed to Croatia already after the first earthquake in 2020. This is the largest amount ever paid out after a natural disaster, he added.

Schmit said that Croatia would take a long time to recover and would need additional funding, adding that this only showed how important the Solidarity Fund was.

The EU Solidarity Fund was established in 2020 to provide aid to member states in the event of major natural disasters and other emergencies.

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