On Monday, the European Parliament Budgets Committee Members approved €823 million in EU aid for the Croatia earthquake, floods in Poland, and the coronavirus crisis.
Most of the aid, over €692 million, will assist Croatia in rebuilding following the March earthquake and to deal with the consequences of coronavirus. €124 million for Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Hungary, and Portugal to tackle the COVID-19 health emergency. €7 million for Poland for reconstruction following June floods.
The report, drafted by Belgium MEP Olivier Chastel (Renew), recommending the approval of the aid and the report approving the accompanying draft amending budget, by German rapporteur Monika Hohlmeier (EPP), were both adopted unanimously in the Budget Committee.
The €823 million in aid from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) will be distributed with 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 additionally 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. A further €7 million will go to Poland to assist with 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 the payment to be made in advance, which Budget Committee MEPs approved following a vote.
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.
More information and a table with precise amounts per country can be found in Parliament’s draft report and the Commission’s proposal.
Photo Credit : https://www.dw.com/en/what-does-the-european-parliament-actually-do/a-48610525