13. September 2021

Briefwechsel mit von der Leyen zu Fluthilfe

EU-HaushaltOffene Briefe

Ursula von der Leyen
The President
Brussels, 28. 10. 2021
Ares (2021) 5604808

Dear Honourable Member,

Thank you for your follow up questions in your letter of 13 September 2021 underlining the usefulness of EU support mechanisms. In your letter, you also point to the current budgetary situation as regards financial assistance available in case of natural disasters.

As you know, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is part of the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve (SEAR), which is a ‘Thematic Special Instrument’. Funds available for the SEAR are over and above the budgetary ceilings, with a maximum
amount of EUR 1 200 million (in 2018 prices) per year, as set in Article 9 of the Regulation laying down the multi-annual financial framework for the years 2021-2027 (MFF Regulation)1 which was adopted by the co-legislators at the end of 2020.

The EUSF has been put under a severe strain in 2020 and 2021. This is mainly due to the exceptional size of the EUSF assistance put in place in relation to the CO VID-19 public health emergency (EUR 132.7 million in 2020 and EUR 397.4 million in 2021). Furthermore, the fund was also activated following the earthquakes in Croatia (EUR 682.7 million in 2020 and EUR 41 million for advance payment in 2021), as well as in relation to natural disasters in France and Greece (EUR 87 million).

As regards the Emergency Aid Reserve within the Union, the Commission mobilised more than EUR 120 million to reinforce the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) and the EU contribution to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) with the aim of financing measures addressing the pandemic and further supporting Member States ’ genome sequencing capacity of CO VID-19 variants

As regards the Emergency Aid Reserve in third countries, the mobilisations reached EUR 334 million. This amount supported the roll out of CO VID-19 vaccinations in Africa, as well as the humanitarian response to famine and food insecurity in a number of African countries, Yemen, Afghanistan and Venezuela. It also provided emergency assistance to the crisis in the Tigray region.

To date, five Member States submitted their applications for EUSF support regarding the damages from the July floods. The Commission is assessing the information provided and damages claimed to have a comprehensive overview of the needs. Based on that information, the Commission will consider all possible options within our instruments to allow the EUSF to continue to deliver EU solidarity to Member States hit by major natural disasters.

Yours sincerely,
Ursula von der Leyen

1 Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093 of 17 December 2020


President Ursula von der Leyen,
Commissioner Johannes Hahn
European Commission
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
1049 Bruxelles

Your letter from August 23rd 2021 regarding the financial help after the floods in Europe

Honourable President von der Leyen,
Honourable Commissioner Hahn,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your reply to my letter. We live in difficult times that
require the whole strength of the European Union and its Member States. Further, the recent
unpreceded events, the natural disasters, need unpreceded methods to address the
consequences and help the people in need.

I am saddened to hear that the ceiling for the SEAR has already been exhausted. In your
letter, you are referring to the possibility of funding from the European Solidarity Fund. We,
however, have learned that the ceiling of the EUSF has also been exhausted due to
allocation of funds for tackling the recent disasters in Croatia, Greece and France.
Therefore I would like to ask you as a follow-up, whether you could specify, how exactly the
remaining money in the SEAR has already been allocated, notably from the Emergency Aid

In addition, I would like to ask you, how the Commission is planning to financially support the
urgencies now emerged after the flood disasters, given the fact that those disasters will
increase in the future and it is very possible that the SEAR annual ceilings will be exhausted
already at the beginning of the year. Will there be a possibility of increased flexibility in the
margins or transfers from other funds?

I kindly thank you for clarifying this matter of allocation and further, long-term response. In
the European Parliament, a broad majority is very concerned about financial assistance
towards the regions affected by natural disasters, as those will increase in the future.
Besides addressing the climate crisis that is causing those events, it is also necessary to
immediately help innocent people affected by the crisis.

Kind regards,
Rasmus Andresen,
Member of European Parliament



Ursula von der Leven
The Presidem
Brussels, 23. 08.2021
Ares (2021) 4647475

23. August

Dear Honourable Member,

Thank you for your letter of 19 July 2021, which expresses very well the feelings of all of
us. We are shocked by the terrible events in several Member States and the disastrous
consequences for lives, health and belongings of many citizens of the EU. Our hearts go
out to all the people hard hit by the floods. This is a moment where all Europeans have to
stand together and help those most affected.

As you rightly point out. the Union Civil Protection Mechanism facilitated the delivery of
assistance to the affected areas, once again proving its ability’ to respond swiftly to
emergencies. Belgium is the only Member State that activated the Mechanism. Within a
few hours of Belgium’s request for assistance on 14 July, seven Member States offered
assistance. In particular, France, Italy and Austria deployed around 150 rescue workers,
more than 30 rescue boats and two helicopters through the Mechanism. In addition, upon
request from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the Commission Emergency
Response Coordination Centre activated the Copernicus Emergency Management Service
to produce satellite maps of the regions hit by floods to support the damage assessment.

In relation to the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve, the overall annual ceiling is
EUR 1.2 billion (2018 prices). The reality at this moment is that almost all funds available
for 2021 have already been used, with further outstanding demands from natural disasters
that occurred over the past 12 months. Unfortunately, with the increasing frequency of
natural disasters that we witness and their destructive nature, the situation in terms of
ability to pay this year is challenging.

The Commission is in close contact with the countries concerned to establish the magnitude of the economic damage and the corresponding eligibility for compensation from the European Union Solidaritv Fund.
Once potential needs for assistance from the Fund are established, we will look into all
options to be able to provide, finds to the countries concerned as quickly as possible.

In its proposal for the 2021-2027 multi-annual financial framework, the Commission
proposed to reinforce the European Solidarity Fund by raising the maximum annual
ceiling for this Fund alone to up to EUR 1 billion (2018 prices). The European Council
modified the Commission proposal in this regard and decided on the total annual amount
of EUR 1.2 billion (2018 prices) for the. Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve envelope,
covering both the. European Solidarity Fund and the Emergency Aid Reserve. This was
agreed in the context of the Interinstitutional Agreement concluded between the colegislators
and the Commission last December.

The frequency and gravity of natural disasters over the last two years, aggravated by the
Covid-19 pandemic, has demonstrated the insufficiency of available solidarity Tools of the.

The Commission is examining possibilities to improve this unsatisfactory situation for
the EU and its citizens. I count on your support in this regard.

Ursula von der Leyen
Yours faithfully



President Ursula von der Leyen,
Commissioner Johannes Hahn
European Commission
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
1049 Bruxelles

A European catastrophe demands a European answer

Brussels, 18 July 2021

Honourable President von der Leyen,
Honourable Commissioner Hahn,

In these days we are experiencing a big humanitarian crisis in the center of Europe.
Regions in Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany are hit hard by

Thousands of families have lost their homes, sPll many people are missing and too many
have lost their lives.

A European catastrophe demands a European answer.

It’s great to see that the European civil protection mechanism is helping out. Firefighters and
rescue workers from different parts of Europe are helping where help is needed most.
As a next step I am calling for you to prepare economic help for the regions and millions of
European citizens hit by the floods.

I am asking you together with the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Austria and Germany to prepare mobilizing the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve.
Huge parts of the 690 Mio. Euro left of the reserve should be used for financial help.

As member of the European Parliament I am sure that a broad majority in the European
Parliament will do everything we can in order to ensure that European funding will help the
citizens hit by the floods.

Best Regards,
Rasmus Andresen, Greens/EFA