Source: European Union
On Monday, Budgets Committee Members approved €823 million in EU aid for the Croatia earthquake, floods in Poland, and the coronavirus crisis.
The €823 million in aid from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) will be distributed as follows:
- More than €132.7 million to be made in advance payments to Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary, and Portugal in response to the major public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
- Croatia will receive €683.7 million to help the country deal with the devastating effects of the earthquake in Zagreb and the surrounding area in March 2020. A first disbursement of €88.9 million was already released in August 2020.
- More than €7 million will go to Poland to assist with reconstruction efforts following floods in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship province in June this year.
EU Solidarity Fund modified in response to COVID-19
As part of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII), in 2020 the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund rules was extended, enabling the EU to help countries respond to major public health emergencies.
Overall, 19 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain) and three accession countries (Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia) have requested assistance in tackling the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. Of these, seven countries requested the payment to be made in advance, which Budget Committee MEPs approved following a vote.
Background information on the EU Solidarity Fund
More information and a table with precise amounts per country can be found in Parliament’s draft report and the Commission’s proposal.
The report, drafted by Olivier Chastel (RENEW, BE), recommending the approval of the aid was adopted by 40 votes in favour, 0 against and 0 abstention.
The report approving the accompanying draft amending budget, by rapporteur Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE), was adopted with 40 votes in favour, 0 against and 0 abstention.
The Council of Ministers approved the aid on 30 October. The draft reports still need to be approved by the full Parliament, after which the financial aid can be disbursed. The Commission is currently assessing the applications received. Once this has been completed, it will put forward a proposal to make the final payments.