34 2015 General Budget and EU Solidarity
|Committee's decision||Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested
|Document details||(a) Draft Amending Budget in connection with proposed use of the EU Solidarity Fund
(b) Proposal for a Decision on the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (Floods in Romania, Bulgaria and Italy)
|Legal base||(a) Article 314 TFEU and Article 106a EURATOM, co-decision, QMV
(b) Council Regulation (EC) No. 2012/2002; co-decision; QMV
(a) (36796), 8015/15, COM(15) 161
(b) (36797), 8016/15, COM(15) 162
Summary and Committee's conclusions
34.1 The Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary matters provides
the possibility of finance for the EU Solidarity Fund, which releases
emergency financial aid following a major disaster in a Member
State or candidate country. The Commission proposes a Decision
to approve four applications, two from Romania and one each from
Bulgaria and Italy, for financial aid from the Fund.
34.2 The draft Decision is accompanied by a Draft
Amending Budget for the 2015 General Budget, which seeks 66.5
million (£48.3 million) beyond the agreed budget for 2015
to finance the mobilisation of the Fund in relation to the four
applications for assistance.
34.3 The Government reiterates its support for the
principle and objectives of the EU Solidarity Fund and its approach
to EU budgetary restraint. It then says that its view is that
the Commission should always look first to reallocate funds from
within existing agreed budgets to meet emerging inyear pressures,
rather than coming to Member States to request additional money.
34.4 While the Government tells us of its support
for the EU Solidarity Fund, we note that it does not say whether
it agrees with the Commission's assessment of these four applications.
Nor does it make plain whether it thinks that in this case a reallocation
of funds within the existing 2015 General Budget is possible rather
than recourse to a Draft Amending Budget.
34.5 Before we consider this matter again we should
like to hear further from the Government on these two points.
Meanwhile the documents remain under scrutiny.
details of the documents: (a) Draft Amending
Budget No. 4 to the General Budget 2015 accompanying the proposal
to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund for Romania, Bulgaria
and Italy: (36796), 8015/15, COM(15) 161; (b) Proposal for a Decision
on mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund (Floods in Romania,
Bulgaria and Italy: (36797), 8016/15, COM(15) 162.
34.6 The Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary
matters provides the possibility of finance for ("mobilisation
of") the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), which releases emergency
financial aid following a major disaster in a Member State or
34.7 During the course of a financial year the Commission
presents to the Council and European Parliament Draft Amending
Budgets (DABs) proposing increases or reductions for revenue and
expenditure in the current EU General Budget there are
normally about ten DABs each year.
34.8 The Commission proposes a Decision, document
(b), to approve four applications for financial aid from the EUSF
outlined as follows:
following flooding in Romania during April/May 2014 as a result
of a major disaster in Serbia, Romania submitted a successful
bid under the 'neighbouring country' provision citing direct damage
of 167.9 million (£122 million). The Commission proposes
an award to Romania of 4.2 million (£3.1 million) in
after heavy flooding in south-western parts of the country in
July/August 2014, Romania suffered direct damage of 171.9m
(£125m). Following an approved application for extraordinary
regional damage, the Commission proposes an award to Romania of
4.3 million (£3.1 million) of EUSF funding;
during July and August 2014, Bulgaria suffered from flooding as
a result of intense and heavy rainfall. Direct damage has been
assessed at 79.3 million (£57.6 million) in the affected
area of Severozapaden, meeting the criteria for 'regional disaster'.
The Commission proposes an award to Bulgaria of 2 million
(£1.45 million) from the EUSF; and
flooding and landslides affected five regions in Italy during
autumn 2014, with direct damage assessed at 2.24 billion
(£1.63 billion). The application was assessed as a 'regional
disaster' by the Commission with EUSF funding of 56 million
(£40.7 million) proposed.
34.9 The draft Decision is accompanied by Draft Amending
Budget No. 4 for the 2015 General Budget (DAB 4/2015), document
(a), which seeks 66.5 million (£48.3 million) beyond
the agreed budget for 2015 to finance the mobilisation of the
EUSF in relation to the four applications for assistance. The
Commission says that, since none of the applications met the criteria
for a 'major disaster', aid has been applied at the lower rate
of 2.5% of total direct damage. Based on the maximum possible
funds available under the EUSF, including unspent funds from last
year, the Commission notes that there are sufficient EUSF funds
available and proposes to finance the mobilisation by increasing
the agreed 2015 EU General Budget.
34.10 This is the first proposal in 2015 for a mobilisation
of the EUSF.
The Government's view
34.11 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 27 May 2015
the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke) says
the Government supports the principle and objectives of the EUSF,
it has been consistently clear that it wants to see real budgetary
restraint in the EU in order to avoid unaffordably high costs
to the UK;
· to deliver
this goal, the Government is committed to continuing to work hard
to limit EU spending, reduce waste and inefficiency, and ensure
that where EU funds are spent they deliver the best possible value
for money for taxpayers; and
Government's view is that the Commission should always look first
to reallocate funds from within existing agreed budgets to meet
emerging inyear pressures, rather than coming to Member
States to request additional money.
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