COVID-19 and natural disasters: €823 million in EU aid for eight member states

COVID-19 and natural disasters: €823 million in EU aid for eight member states

On 24 November 2020, the European Parliament approved €823 million in EU aid for the Croatia earthquake, floods in Poland, and the response to the coronavirus crisis in seven EU countries.

The €823 million in aid from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) will be disseminated with more than €132.7 million to be distributed 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, with a first disbursement of €88.9 million was already released in August 2020; and more than €7 million will go to Poland to assist reconstruction efforts following floods in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship province in June this year.

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 that the payment be made in advance, which Parliament approved with this vote.

The report, drafted by Belgium MEP Olivier Chastel (RENEW) recommending the approval of the aid, was supported by the report approving the accompanying draft amending budget, by rapporteur German MEP Monika Hohlmeier (EPP).

The Council of Ministers approved the advance payments on 30 October, which can now be disbursed following the plenary vote. The Commission is currently assessing the applications received. Once this assessment has been completed, the Commission will put forward a proposal to make the final payments.

More information and a table with precise amounts per country can be found in Parliament’s report and the Commission’s proposal.

Photo Credit : https://www.ugent.be/hpc/en/news-events/news/covid19

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