European Interest

MEPs approve €17.7 million in EU aid after intense floods in Latvia

Flickr/Liga Eglite/CC BY 2.0

Budget Committee MEPs have approved €17,730,519 in EU aid to repair damage caused by intense floods in Latvia in the summer and autumn of 2017, in a vote on Monday.

The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). The draft report by Inese Vaidere (EPP, LV) recommending the swift approval of the decision was approved by 27 votes to 1, with 0 abstention.

During August, September and October 2017, Latvia was affected by a long-lasting period of intense rainfall leading to soil being saturated and subsequent flooding throughout the country, particularly in the Latgale region and surrounding territories. The flood destroyed crops and caused widespread damage to water courses, the drainage system, connected water treatment installations as well as road and railway infrastructure.

The aid is intended to help restore essential infrastructure, reimburse the cost of emergency measures and cover the costs of some of the clean-up operations.

The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was set up to respond to major natural disasters and express European solidarity to disaster-stricken regions within Europe. The Fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used for 80 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. 24 different European countries have been supported so far for an amount of over €5 billion.

Plenary will vote on the aid during the November plenary session. With the approval by the Council, the funds can then be made rapidly available.

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