EU cash aid for fire damaged Galicia on cards

8th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 September 2006, STRASBOURG — The European Parliament called for clearer rules for providing cash aid for the fire-ravaged Galicia, it was reported on Friday.

8 September 2006

STRASBOURG — The European Parliament called for clearer rules for providing cash aid for the fire-ravaged Galicia, it was reported on Friday.

The parliament voted to ask the European Commission to make a statement on the situation.

The non-binding resolution, which passed on a vote of 534-10, with 29 abstentions, said of the 200,000 hectares which have burned in the 25 nations of the European Union this year, almost half were in Spain.

The legislative body also agreed to send a delegation of Eurodeputies on a fact-finding mission "to the areas most affected" by the fires in Europe.

The legislators will discuss the situation at a meeting next month  to review European civil defence issues.

EU Solidarity Fund rules set an extremely high threshold for the minimum damage needed to for cash aid to be paid: EUR 3 billion or 0.60 percent of the affected country's gross domestic product.

In some cases, however, the European Commission - the EU's executive arm - has said a disaster in a region merits the disbursement of aid, such as after the oil tanker Prestige sank off the Galician coast in 2002.

Spain received EUR 8.6m to help pay for clean-up efforts after the tanker, which was carrying 70,000 tonnes of crude, most of which leaked into the ocean, sank on 19 November 2002, about 100 kilometeres off the northwestern Spanish coast.

The non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament called on the commission to use the fund "with flexibility."

The Spanish parties in the European Parliament praised the resolution requesting aid for Galicia.

"This is a great political success. Activating the Solidarity Fund for a matter like this, although clearly of a regional nature, is very serious," Antolin Sanchez Presedo, a member of Spain's governing socialists, said.

Daniel Varela, who belongs to the main opposition Popular Party, said he was glad that "Galicia and Gallegos might get aid after the biggest environmental disaster in their history".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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