Today, the European Commission is putting forward a package of almost €530 million in additional financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). It will contribute to the efforts deployed by 17 Member States and 3 accession countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Albania, Montenegro and Serbia) to safeguard public health in fighting the coronavirus. This funding will support part of their public expenditure on medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of the disease.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira i said: “The EU Solidarity Fund is a concrete demonstration of European solidarity in action. Since its creation, it has delivered effective assistance and relief to millions of people during difficult times. Last year, we extended its scope to cover major health emergencies. Now we are proposing to mobilise much needed coronavirus-related financial assistance. The EUSF is once again accomplishing its core mission.”
The aid package proposed today also includes the €132.7 million of advance payments already received by Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal. The mobilisation of the EUSF final payments to the 17 Member States is based on a thorough assessment of the applications submitted, ensuring consistency in the approach and equal treatment.
The financial contribution proposed by the Commission has now to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. The financial aid will then be disbursed to the applicant countries.
The EUSF was created after the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002, primarily to assist eligible countries in the emergency and recovery operations following natural disasters. Between 2002 and 2020, the EUSF has mobilised a total of over €6.5 billion for interventions in 96 disaster events in 23 Member States and 1 accession country. The EUSF is a special instrument of solidarity and is mobilised upon applications and the assessment of their eligibility. In the forthcoming programming period 2021-2027, it will be part of the newly established Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve. Since April 2020, in the framework of the EU efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the scope of the EUSF was extended to cover major public health emergencies.
In 2020, the EUSF provided €683.7 million to Croatia following the devastating effects of the earthquake in Zagreb and its surroundings and €7 million to Poland to assist in its reconstruction efforts following the floods in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship province. In 2021, the Commission has already authorised advance payments to France and Greece following regional disasters affecting their respective territories.
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