Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called on the UK government to explore every option for helping areas like Ceredigion recover from the devastating storm damage, including a European emergency measure, the European Union Solidarity Fund.
Jill Evans says that the interests of our communities should come first and that UK government should not rule out any funding source that could help recover and rebuild.
In Aberystwyth to view the damage (Friday 10 January ) with Plaid Cymru’s Westminster candidate for Ceredigion Mike Parker, Jill Evans MEP said that it was vital to explore possible assistance from the Solidarity Fund.
Jill Evans MEP said:
“The extent of the damage here in Aberystwyth is shocking and my sympathy is with all those families and businesses that are suffering the results. At this time of crisis we have to explore every possible option to help recover and rebuild, including the EU Solidarity Fund.
"The fund was set up following severe floods in central Europe in summer 2002. Its aim is to help countries respond quickly to natural disasters such as this. It is one of the benefits of EU membership.
“Over €160 million was awarded to the UK in 2007 after major flooding and while this was mainly in England, some households and businesses in Wales were affected and received funding. The government should be exploring every avenue at this very difficult time for people in Ceredigion and many other coastal communities. It is also urgent as an application has to be received by the European Commission within ten weeks of the date of the first damage caused by the disaster. I urge the UK government to investigate this without delay.
"It is only the UK government (as the member state) that can apply. Neither the local authority nor the Welsh Government can make an application, although the Welsh Government should be doing all in its power to persuade the UK to apply, as well as talking directly to the European Commission about the scale of the damage suffered. The government should put aside its prejudices about the EU and put our communities first.
“The Secretary of State for Wales made no reference to possible help from the European Union when questioned in the House of Commons on Wednesday so we need to ensure that they have not ruled out this option. As yet the government is not offering any additional funding.
“There are no guarantees of EU funding but at this time of crisis we need the kind of solidarity that we have offered to many other countries in Europe when they needed it most."