12,78 M€ of EU Solidarity Fund for the damages caused by the hurricane "Dean" in Martinique and Guadeloupe

On September 15th the Commission presented a Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament on the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund on the basis of application for assistance from the Fund made by France, after the hurricane "Dean", which affected Martinique and Guadeloupe in August 2007. The Interinstitutional Agreement of May 17th 2006 allows the mobilisation of the Fund within the annual ceiling of 1 billion Euro.

In the light of the examination of France's application, and considering the maximum possible grant  from the Fund as well as the scope for reallocating appropriations under the heading requiring additional expenditure, the Commission has proposed to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund for a total amount of 12,78 M€, from the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, in commitment and payment appropriations.

Following the procedure, the Commission has already presented a preliminary draft amending budget (PDAB) in order to enter in the 2008 budget specific commitment and payment appropriations, broken down by beneficiary country, as requested in Point 26 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management of 2006.

This Commission's decision to accept the application made by France relating to the hurricane "Dean" and the declaration as an “extraordinary regional disaster”, comes after an assessment whose most important elements are:

  • The application was presented to the Commission on 26 October 2007 within the deadline of 10 weeks after the first damage was recorded on 17 August 2007.
  • The disaster is of natural origin. The French authorities estimated the total direct damage at 511,2 M€. This amount represents 0.03% of France's GNI and 16% of the normal threshold for mobilising the Solidarity Fund applicable to France.
  • As total damage remains below the normal threshold the application is based on the so-called “extraordinary regional disaster” criterion laid down in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 setting out the conditions for mobilising the Solidarity Fund “under exceptional circumstances”.
  • The French authorities justify their application with the special situation of Martinique and Guadeloupe as outermost regions of the Union.
  • The application relates to the whole of Martinique (34 municipalities with a total population of 381,000 inhabitants) and the more seriously affected part of Guadeloupe (23 municipalities with a population of 298,000 inhabitants, representing two thirds of Guadeloupe's total population).
  • The French authorities reported serious damage in the agricultural sector, especially the banana sector, as well as infrastructures and public buildings, homes and company buildings.
  • French authorities demonstrated a serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic stability of the region, as two of the most important economic sectors were affected: banana production and tourism.
  • France has indicated that it intends to use financing from POSEI and the ERDF for purposes related to the disaster.

By presenting this proposal to deploy the Fund, the Commission initiates the simplified trialogue procedure, as required by the Inter-institutional Agreement of 2006, in view of securing the agreement of the two arms of the budgetary authority on the need to use the Fund and the amount required. The Commission invites the first of the two arms of the Budgetary Authority that reaches agreement on the draft mobilisation proposal, at appropriate political level, to inform the other arm and the Commission of its intentions.

In case of disagreement by either of the two arms of the budgetary authority, a formal trialogue meeting will be convened.

In 2008, 260,41 M€ has already been mobilised from the EU Solidarity Fund for earlier applications, leaving mora than 739,58 M€ available.