Emergency EU support measures for Greece for recent natural disasters

30 September 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

In the period between 7 September and 19 September 2016, at least four Greek regions suffered major disasters. Heavy rainfall hit the municipality of Thermaikos in Thessaloniki and the city of Kalamata. A fire swept through much of Thassos. Moreover, Pyrgos, in Ilia, along with the city of Patras, were affected by a tornado of unprecedented intensity.

If the fires that burned much of the island of Chios in August are added to the above disasters, the damage caused by natural disasters in less than two months is very substantial and it might not be possible for national and local authorities to cover the — still undetermined — financial cost involved.

However, it is also difficult to use the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) allocations to deal with natural disasters, precisely because the geographical dispersion of these natural disasters is on a wider scale than the relevant NUTS 2 scale recognised by the EUSF.

The Commission is therefore asked to answer the following:

What other emergency support measures for Greece can be taken at EU level to repair the above damage?


Answer to a written question – Emergency EU support measures for Greece for recent natural disasters – E-007330/2016

21 November 2016
Answer given by Ms Creţu on behalf of the Commission
It is not possible to cumulate, in a single application for European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), assistance for several disasters of a different nature/origin. However, if a given disaster affects several regions it is possible to add up the damage caused, even if the affected regions are not adjacent. In order to be eligible for EUSF assistance, total direct damage must exceed 1.5% of the affected region’s gross domestic product (GDP). If several regions are affected, the threshold is applied to the average GDP of those regions weighted according to the share of total damage in each region.

European Structural and Investment Funds are not available for compensating either damaged infrastructure or private properties and victims from natural disasters. However, cohesion policy supports risk prevention, disaster resilience, new infrastructures or retro-fitting existing infrastructures aiming at climate change adaptation.

In particular, under the 2014-2020 period for Greece, approximately EUR 400 million are available from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund to be invested under the thematic objective ‘Promoting climate change adaptation and risk prevention’.

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