PR Henrike Hahn, MEP: Floods in Southern Germany and Northern Italy: The European Solidarity Fund should provide acute assistance

MEP Henrike Hahn (The Greens/EFA), deputy member of the Committee on Budgets and rapporteur/lead negotiator for the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in 2021, comments on the floods in Southern Germany and Northern Italy:

"Europe helps in disasters that, as we can see these days, cause people a lot of pain. After the European elections, it will be necessary to examine as soon as possible whether the European Solidarity Fund (EUSF) can provide assistance with reconstruction after the dramatic floods in Southern Germany and Northern Italy. Since 2002, the EUSF has been making an important contribution to reconstruction after natural disasters as a sign of European solidarity.

The EUSF is not unknown in Southern Germany when floods caused devastation and claimed lives in Bavaria as early as 2016. At the time, the EUSF paid out 31.5 million euros for Lower Bavaria to finance the reconstruction of basic infrastructure and to cover part of the costs of the clean-up work. In this legislature, Italy also received a total of 232.6 million Euros for floods in October 2019 and September 2022. Europe is ready when help is needed.

Extreme weather events will continue to intensify and become more frequent due to climate change. Therefore, the EUSF's funds must be increased in the future multiannual financial framework (MFF).

Whenever EUSF disbursements are made, it must always be clear that combating climate change must be a priority for the EU - and that this involves preventive and not after-the-fact measures. It is no use just tinkering with climate damage that has already occurred without addressing the cause. The anti-climate policy of the EPP Group and Far Right in the European Parliament seems particularly inhuman in these dramatic days.

In view of the dramatic floods in Germany and Italy, it is all the more urgent that the EU sticks to the climate targets it has set.

The predicted shift to the right in the European Parliament means that it may become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to form majorities for climate legislation. The European elections will be a decisive factor in determining whether people in Europe are increasingly helpless in the face of extreme weather events and the consequences are only tinkered with, or whether constructive climate policy can counteract this at the European level in time.”



In this legislative period, Germany also received 612.6 million euros in EU funds for the reconstruction of public infrastructure after the severe floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in the summer of 2021.

In the event of natural disasters, national governments affected by them are able to apply for aid from the EUSF within 12 weeks. The criteria for accessing the fund are precisely defined: As a rule, the Solidarity Fund can provide financial support if a so-called “major disaster” causes total direct damage of more than EUR 3 billion (at 2011 prices) or more than 0.6% of the gross national income of the affected EU country. The lower value applies in each case in order to cover as many cases as possible. There are also so-called “regional disasters”. Here the threshold is 1.5% of the region’s gross domestic income.


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