In plenary today, the European Parliament approved the biggest-ever mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), providing €1.2 billion in financial assistance to Italy following the devastating earthquakes that recently hit the country.
“Today, the heart of Europe is beating in Italy where the people from the affected areas now have one reason more to feel European and will be able to tell a story of help and solidarity, a story of Europe as we believe in it, a story of a family! I'm proud of today's vote”, stated the Rapporteur Giovanni La Via MEP.
Between the end of August 2016 and mid-January 2017, a series of strong earthquakes led to 333 casualties, 30,000 people in need of assistance, significant damage to infrastructure and to businesses and living conditions of the affected population in the regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria.
"We are sending a strong signal of European solidarity to Italy. The highest ever mobilisation of the EUSF will be used to finance specific interventions such as providing temporary accommodation for the people, securing preventive infrastructure and supporting measures of protection of cultural heritage”, concluded La Via.
The EUSF was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used 76 times in 24 different Member States, covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought.