Pavel BurianJune 25, 2021 Europe
Babis seeks EU aid in wake of tornado
Today, during the summit in Brussels, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš asked the heads of institutions of the European Union for help for the South Moravian region affected by devastating storms and tornadoes. Babiš tweeted. Czechia can receive assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund, which countries use in cases of natural disasters.
At least five people died as a result of the storm with hail and tornado, which hit Břeclav and Hodonín in particular tonight. So far, they have treated over 150 injured people in hospitals, and the element has also caused great material damage.
“If such a fund exists, we must use it, because the damage is in the hundreds of millions,” Babiš told reporters in Brussels today. Shortly afterward, he wrote that he had asked the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for help.
The Solidarity Fund has been in operation for 20 years, during which time countries have used it in almost a hundred cases. He helped the Czech Republic several times after various floods, in 2002 he received 129 million euros from it. Last year, for example, Croatia raised over half a billion euros to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, and the money also helped flooded Poland.
About one billion euros a year is available in the fund. Finance can be provided by countries where the damage caused by a natural disaster reaches at least 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the affected region or 0.6 percent of the GDP of a Member State. According to Babiš, in the case of the South Moravian Region, it is 11.6 billion crowns.
In addition to the financial assistance from the fund itself, there is also a crisis mechanism through which the EU countries help each other in the event of similar disasters. In such cases, European money covers part of the costs of rescuing rescue teams or material assistance to the affected area.
“Of course, every country, including the Czech Republic, can activate the civil protection mechanism at any time,” commission spokesman Balázs Ujvari told ČTK today. He added that the commission is monitoring the situation in the Czech Republic and is in contact with the Czech authorities, but has not yet received an official request.