Yorkshire Flooding 2015

Question

Has the Commission transferred to the UK Government any monies, from the Solidarity Fund or from other lines in the EU budget, related to the catastrophic floods that affected parts of Yorkshire in December 2015?

Is the Commission aware of the statement* made to the House of Commons by the UK Government which indicates clearly that the government intends:

  • To keep in its own pocket a proportion of the EU funding in order to offset any consequential diminution of the UK abatement; 
  • To keep a proportion of the funds to offset its losses from having to reimburse to the EU money secured in the wake of the previous 2007 floods that was judged to have been spent outside EU rules; 
  • To siphon off a further proportion of the EU funding to cover what it calls ‘the costs of bidding to the fund’?

Does the Commission agree that such deductions, which would all lessen the amount actually reaching the intended beneficiaries, would amount to the UK Treasury profiting from the misfortune of others? Are such deductions allowable under the rules?

*Written statement — HCWS412, https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-01-16/HCWS412/

Answer

On proposal from the Commission, financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) amounting to EUR 60.3 million was approved by the budgetary authority on 5 April 2017. A condition for paying out the assistance is that the beneficiary State communicates its intended use. Discussions with the UK authorities on this matter delayed the adoption of the Commission Implementing Decision awarding the EUSF contribution.

This issue has now been resolved. The aid is expected to be paid out to the UK shortly. The full amount of the EUSF contribution must be spent for eligible emergency and recovery operations as defined by Council Regulation 2012/2002 setting up the EU Solidarity Fund and specified in the Implementing Decision. It is not possible to use it for other purposes.

It is however possible to use the EUSF to re-finance eligible operations already carried out in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Technical assistance such as for related administrative costs is not eligible. Six months after the implementation has been completed, the UK authorities are obliged to submit a report with full details on how the money was spent. Unspent or incorrectly spent amounts will have to be returned to the EU budget.

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