On 20 November 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nikos Androulakis of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On 6 November 2020, Crete was hit by severe weather, resulting in widespread devastation. All regional units were affected, with damage to infrastructure, crops and houses, many of which were declared unfit for habitation, rendering the day-to-day lives of residents particularly difficult.
Recently, Crete has been battered by bad weather on two occasions. From 20 to 22 October 2020, there was a heavy hailstorm in Malia, affecting 120 businesses in Hersonissos.
Then, from 6 to 10 November 2020, heavy rain caused flash flooding in both Hersonissos and Minoa Pediada and in other regional units (Chania, Rethymno, Lasithi), as had happened previously.
Estimates put the damage to infrastructure in excess of EUR 150 000 000, not including damage to private property.
In view of the above:
1. Has the Greek Government submitted a request to activate the European Solidarity Fund?
2. What other opportunities for financial assistance exist at EU level and which of them have been used by the Greek Government?
3. What options are there for providing compensation to residents whose properties have been destroyed?”
On 2 February 2021, Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “So far, the Commission has not received an application from Greece for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for damages caused by severe weather in Crete.
An application can be submitted within 12 weeks from the occurrence of the disaster, demonstrating that the total direct damage exceeds either 0.6% of Greek gross national income or 1.5% of the average gross domestic product of the affected regions. The EUSF is not a rapid response instrument, its application and budgetary process can take several months to complete.
2014-2020 programmes financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund have earmarked EUR 391 million for climate-change adaptation and risk prevention measures. Part of this allocation amounting to EUR 8 million is directly available to Crete under its regional programme ‘Crete’ for the reinforcement of civil protection and prevention of natural disasters, including anti-flood measures.
Additional amounts from the national programme ‘Infrastructures’ also may be used for such actions.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) may support investments to restore agricultural production potential damaged by, inter alia, adverse climatic events and for appropriate preventive actions.
EAFRD may also provide financial support for risk management tools, namely insurances, mutual funds and income stabilisation tools. The current version of the Greek Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 provides EUR 40 million for preventive actions.
Compensation for damage of private property is neither eligible for the support from the EUSF and nor from the ERDF or Cohesion Fund.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/sigonella-sicily-landscape-houses-81772/