IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, William Powell AM has called on both the First Minister and the Natural Resources Minister to apply for aid from the EU’s Solidarity Fund and the European Investment Bank to help rebuild communities devastated by flooding in recent weeks.
The EU’s Solidarity Fund, which has a budget of up to £414 million for 2014, was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major national disasters. William Powell recently visited the European Investment Bank, based in Luxemburg, and learnt how the Bank can also be an avenue that can be explored for extra resources for longer term coastal flood defence projects.
William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales and Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Natural Resources Minister, said:
“I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that has been caused by the recent weather in my region. I’m immensely proud of the resilience local people have shown in this crisis.
“However, we need extra resources made available to support these local communities. The EU Solidarity Fund was created in 2002 for just these types of events and the European Investment Bank is also an option too. I believe we have a strong case for extra help and the Welsh Labour Government needs to look closely at making an application while there is still time. The money is there and we need a Government that is willing to go and get it.
“The recent floods have been devastating for many homes and businesses. People need all the support they can get at the moment. I therefore urge the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to ensure that we can access all the support that is available.
“I will be raising these points again during a debate on the recent floods in the National Assembly next week.”
Alec Dauncey, Welsh Liberal Democrat European candidate and resident of Aberystwyth, said:
“This fund is a Europe-wide insurance. It’s all about member countries working together to deal with large scale natural disasters which might hit one of them. All countries pay into it and the money goes to a country or region which needs extra help.
“Elected MEP’s have to authorise these payments. I hope a case can be made for help that will reach Wales.”