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Plaid MEP Jill Evans: ‘Put needs of our communities first’

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Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans is repeating her call on the UK government to make an application to the EU Solidarity Fund to help communities that have been devastated by flood and storm damage.

Jill Evans first called on the UK government to apply for EU help in the New Year, but the Secretary of State for Wales said that the UK government would not seek aid from the fund to help Welsh communities. According to EU rules, only Member States can apply to the EU Solidarity Fund.

With the onset of the flooding in the south-east of England, there have been more calls for the UK government to apply for the emergency funding. The government has consistently ruled out an application but may now be forced to reverse that decision due to public pressure.

Jill Evans MEP said:

"The coastal damage in Wales started in early January and we have been battered by storms for weeks. The EU Solidarity Fund was set up as an emergency fund to be used by countries hit by natural disasters to help them recover. Welsh citizens, like all EU citizens, pay into the Solidarity Fund and at this time when homes, businesses and whole areas have been damaged by the extreme weather, the UK government should have applied immediately.

"The Welsh Government must do all in its power to persuade the UK government to put forward an application. The rules of the EU Solidarity Fund state that applications must be put forward in the 10-week time period after the onset of the disaster. This would bring us up to early March so there needs to be action now."

"The UK government's hostility towards the EU and determination not to lose any of the UK rebate is preventing Wales from receiving the aid and support from the EU that it is entitled to. Since the funds' creation, 23 European countries have benefitted from more than £3 billion. It's time to put the needs of our communities first."

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