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Government should activate EU Solidarity Fund to deal with cost of Ophelia damage – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Tuesday) said the Government should apply for EU financial support to assist with the costs of the damage caused by ex-hurricane Ophelia. Speaking in Dublin, the Fine Gael MEP said the EU Solidarity Fund was established to help EU Member States affected by natural disasters.

“Yesterdays’ storm has caused significant damage across the country. While the full value of the damage will not be known for weeks, the Government should immediately notify the European Commission of their intent to apply for EU financial support. The relevant section of the Commission is DG Regional Policy and they have significant experience in dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters in Europe. I am calling on the European Commission to make themselves available to the Irish Government for the purposes of providing financial support. I will be meeting with the European Commission this week in Brussels to see what supports are available to Ireland.”

“The EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was set up in 2002 to respond to natural disasters including storms in EU Member States. It has been used for 76 disasters across Europe since then. For example in 2009, €521 million worth of damage was caused by flooding in Ireland and the State received €13 million from the EU fund. Given the damage caused yesterday the final bill will be significantly higher than the flooding event in 2009.”

“The fund will not cover the total cost of the damage as the amount of aid paid is linked to the wealth of the country by way of a complicated formula. The total damage must also exceed 0.6% of our GNI. It will take some time to estimate the total cost of the damage caused by Ophelia.”

“From today the Government has 12 weeks to submit an application for financial support from the EU. Given the widespread damage that Ophelia has caused there is no reason why our application would not be successful. The European Commission assesses the application and if successful proposes an amount of aid to the European Parliament and the Council who must vote to approve the financial support,” concluded MEP Hayes.

 

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