The Solidarity Fund, set up in 2002, helps member states in times of natural disaster when there are serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy. Afflicted states have 10 weeks from the first impact of a natural disaster to submit their request for the package, which is available to countries if the damage exceeds 0.6 percent of the GDP posted for the previous year.
Latest estimates in Slovakia put flood damages at around EUR 700 million. With the minimum amount of damage in Slovakia according to the said criterion having to exceed EUR 379 million, they certainly look to have grounds for a pay out.
There should be no real cause for celebration yet in badly affected regions, however, as it could be some time before they see their relief package. Spokesman for EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, Ton van Lierop, pointed out, “A period of evaluation will follow, during which experts will evaluate how justified the request is. It may be a matter of weeks or months.”
After being scrutinised by the panel of experts in their investigation, the European Commission will then compile a draft for providing financial resources, which in turn will then be put before all the EU-member countries and the European Parliament. Bureaucracy at its finest, however, at least there is something more to hope for in the regions that experienced these once-in-a–lifetime floods.
Slovakia officially requested relief yesterday afternoon on the last day of the deadline.