Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

File Photo - Venice flooding, 2019

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On Thursday, Budgets Committee Members approved €279 million in EU aid following extreme weather events in Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain in 2019.

The draft report by rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes, (EPP, PT), who recommended that the assistance be approved, was adopted by 38 votes in favour, none against and without abstentions.

The €279 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) would be allocated as follows:

  • The Azores (Portugal) were hit by hurricane Lorenzo in October 2019 (€8.2 million);
  • A rare meteorological phenomenon described as “isolated high altitude depression” affected four regions in the south-east of Spain in September 2019, leading to flooding (€56.7 million);
  • Most of the Italian territory was affected, between October and November 2019, by a series of connected extreme weather events, leading to severe damage and culminating in the disastrous flooding of Venice (€211.7 million);
  • In November 2019, the south-west of Austria suffered from severe flooding, particularly in Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol, both Alpine areas bordering on Italy (€2.3 million).

José Manuel Fernandes, a Portuguese MEP said that “following a series of natural disasters last year, the European Parliament is committed to helping Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria. With urgent financial aid amounting to €279 million, our aim is to rebuild infrastructure and boost the economy of the regions most affected, especially outermost regions. This is a small but important step towards the recovery and revival of local and national economies. I welcome Austria’s request to the European Commission for assistance in mobilising the Fund. It is proof that Austrians – like all Europeans – benefit from European solidarity.”

Next steps

The European Parliament as a whole still needs to approve the proposal for EU Solidarity Fund assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria in June. Once plenary and Council have endorsed it, the financial aid can be paid out.

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