EFA requests the European institutions to assist the reconstruction in La Palma Island
The European Free Alliance asks the responsible European Commissioners to activate the EU Solidarity Fund to cover the damages caused by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano
The President of the European Free Alliance, Lorena López de Lacalle requested the European Institutions this week to provide the promised assistance to La Palma Island, to help the area recover from the natural disaster caused by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on 19th September 2021. Ms López de Lacalle sent a letter to Commissioner Ferreira, responsible for Cohesion and Reforms, and Commissioner Lenarčič, responsible for Crisis Management and Coordinator of the European Emergency Response, asking for the activation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide a proper response to the Island’s needs.
This action follows a motion, submitted by EFA member party Nueva Canarias and approved by the party General Assembly, to request the immediate application of instruments for disaster management within the framework of EU cohesion policy.
In the letter, EFA’s President recalls that President von der Leyen announced, shortly after the eruption, that the EU would provide “additional support, if necessary” in response to the disaster. The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted last year for a total of 3 months, causing widespread destruction in La Palma and forcing the evacuation of more than 7,000 residents. The estimated cost of the total damages is over 843 million euros. This sum far exceeds the 1% of regional GDP required for accessing the EU Solidarity Fund.
For these reasons, Ms López de Lacalle draws attention in her letter to the “urgency of the disaster and the need for immediate action” and asks if the European Commission will provide the 25% of the applicable refunds as an advance, “as allowed for in the 2020 amendment of the rules governing the fund (Regulation 2020/461)”. In addition, EFA’s President demands information on further support offered by the European Union to secure temporary accommodation for those evacuated and for the island’s reconstruction efforts.
Ms López de Lacalle concludes that “the cohesion of the EU as a whole depends on the principle that the Union’s remotest regions are not disadvantaged”. Therefore, EFA’s President states that “the Canary Islands have a particular need of external support in face of natural disasters” and expresses the hope that the Commissioners will agree on the need to urgently assist La Palma from a European level.