The European Union confirmed Friday a proposal to allocate â‚¬109.4 million ($154 million) to France from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for fighting the devastation caused by Hurricane Klaus in south-west France in January.
The aid will be used to repay the cost of emergency measures such as relief operations, cleaning up the affected areas and repair of basic infrastructures.
In January 2009, Hurricane Klaus caused considerable damage in south-west France, particularly in the Aquitaine region. The direct damage was estimated at â‚¬3.8 billion. A total of 12 people died in the disaster while 400 were injured.
On April 2, French authorities submitted a request for assistance from the European Union Solidarity Fund. The commission determined France was eligible for the funds above a certain threshold of damage, which was set at â‚¬3.4 billion.
In order to grant aid from the Solidarity Fund to France, the Commission will ask the European Parliament and the Council, which constitute the Union's budgetary authority, to adopt what is known as an amending budget.
The Commission and France will then sign an agreement setting out the conditions for using the aid.
The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was created after the floods which affected central Europe during the summer of 2002. It grants emergency aid to Member States and accession countries affected by major natural disasters.
My thoughts go out first of all to the victims and their families affected by this disaster,â€ said Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. â€œIt is the solidarity of all the Member States that is being expressed today towards France, showing once again one of the reasons for the existence of the European Union.