€100 million in EU post-flood aid on its way
The European Commission has approved an advance payment of €100 million from the EU Solidarity Fund to support Slovenia's reconstruction efforts after the damage caused by the devastating August floods. The rest of the €400 million that Slovenia asked for is expected to be paid out next year.
The aid will be used to finance post-flood recovery, including reconstruction of critical infrastructure, measures to protect cultural heritage and pay for clean-up efforts.
"We stand in solidarity with Slovenia, testament to the fact that this advance payment of €100 million is the maximum mobilised to date under the European Solidarity Fund," European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira said as the advance payment was approved on 29 November.
The funds will be used to restore infrastructure to the condition it was in before the floods, while additional construction will be financed from other sources, said Andreja Katič, a state secretary at the Slovenian Ministry for Cohesion and Regional Development.
The Commission had eight weeks to approve the advance payment but it did so in four weeks, according to Cohesion Minister Aleksander Jevšek, who attributed the speed to the well-prepared application.
The advance payment will be transferred to the Finance Ministry in the coming days.
In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the EU offered Slovenia assistance through its Civil Protection Mechanism, which included helicopters, trucks and excavators.
Since then, the Commission has also mobilised €8.6 million via the agricultural reserve to support farmers in Slovenia whose livelihoods have been most affected by the floods.
Visiting Slovenia just days after the floods, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Slovenia would be eligible for €100 million from the Solidarity Fund in 2023 and an additional €300 million in 2024.
While not necessary for the advance payment, Slovenia's application will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union before additional aid is paid out.
The government expects a decision to be reached in March or April. Once the decision is made, Slovenia will have to spend the funds in 18 months and prepare a report.