Budget MEPs approve 104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

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  • Natural disasters in 2017 caused the loss of human lives and a great deal of destruction in the regions affected
  • The aid from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) will help repair damage caused by forest fires in Portugal and Spain, hurricanes in France and earthquakes in Greece
  • Fund for aid still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole in May

Budget MEPs approved on Wednesday EUSF aid worth €104.2 million to support reconstruction in Greece, Spain, France and Portugal, hit by natural disasters in 2017.

The aid from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) includes €50.6 million for reconstruction in the Centro region in Portugal following violent forest fires in June and October 2017, while Spain will be supported with €3.2 million to overcome the damage in the neighbouring region of Galicia. France will be assisted with €49 million to repair the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the French regions of Saint Martin and Guadeloupe in September 2017. Finally, Greece will be supported with €1.3 million to repair homes, businesses and infrastructure in the aftermath of the Lesbos earthquakes of June 2017.

 

The draft report by rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes, recommending the approval of the financial assistance, was adopted with 24 votes against 2 and no abstentions.

 

Factsheets on EUSF interventions in France, Greece, Portugal and Spain can be found online on the European Commission’s website.

 

Next steps

 

The proposed aid will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole on 30 May. The Council approved the aid on 14 May. Advances have already been paid out to Portugal, France and Greece.

 

Background

 

The EUSF was set up in 2002 in response to disastrous flooding in central Europe in the summer of that year. Since then, repair work after more than 80 disasters in 24 EU countries — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — has received EUSF aid totalling more than €5 billion.

 

In the cases in question, the Fund is being used to support reconstruction efforts and cover some of the costs of emergency services, temporary accommodation, clean-up operations and protection of cultural heritage, in order to relieve the financial burden borne by national authorities.

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