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Dolores Utrilla
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16th March 2020
Banking & Finance Covid-19 Institutional law

Commission proposes reform of EU Solidarity Fund to cover major public health emergencies

As part of the EU’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Commission has submitted, to the European Parliament and to the Council, a Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation 2012/2002 establishing the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). This proposal purports to extend the scope of the EUSF so that it can be used to provide financial assistance to Member States and countries negotiating their accession to the EU seriously affected by a major public health emergency.

The Commission considers that the EUSF can play an important role in showing EU solidarity to Member States in dealing with the COVID-19 emergency situation. The EUSF was created in 2002 to support EU Member States and accession countries in situations of major disasters caused by natural events such as floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires or drought. The current EUSF is however strictly limited to natural disasters causing physical damage such as floods, storms, earthquakes and similar.

The proposed changes do not affect the geographical scope of Regulation 2012/2002, that continues to be limited to Member States of and countries negotiating their accession to the EU. The thematic scope, however, would be enlarged to cover major crisis situations resulting from public health threats. Specifically, it would be extended to include assistance to the population in case of health crises, including medical assistance, and measures to contain the further spreading of an infectious disease. Mobilisation of the Fund, as under the current procedure, would be possible only upon the request of an eligible State.

Moreover, the Commission proposes to raise the level of advance payments for individual disasters of all categories from 10% to 25% of the expected EUSF contribution, limited to a maximum of EUR 100 million. The Commission also proposes to increase the total level of appropriations for EUSF advances in the annual budget from EUR 50 million to EUR 100 million.

Read the Proposal here.

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