European Union Solidarity Fund, implementation and application
Delivered in Plenary - 15th January 2013
The report on the EU Solidarity Fund dealing with assistance to Member States following national disasters, acknowledges that austerity across the Union precludes an increase in the budget line allocated to the Fund and this aspect I particularly welcome. So I also welcome the Commission’s recent decisions that changes in the Solidarity Fund will not impose any additional financial burden on both the Member States and the EU’s budget.
How best can the Fund do its job? Although various Member States have in recent years benefited from the Fund, the report rightly criticises the legal and practical difficulties of accessing the Fund. The demand for access to this Fund requires the Commission to simplify procedures in order to prevent further delays. The time taken is unacceptably long and greater flexibility is now needed.
However, the Solidarity Fund does provide added value and has played a valuable role in rebuilding damaged infrastructure in affected territories such as Italy – the country you come from Mr President – after the earthquake.