15th Nov 2019

EU pledges aid to flood victims

  • Hungarian authorities are setting up defences to prevent the Danube river from spilling over into the capital, Budapest (Photo:

The European Commission says it is ready to unleash funds to help the thousands affected by one of the worst floods to hit Europe in a decade.

Six people are reported dead in the Czech Republic with another two dead in Austria and others missing.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

“I would like to reassure them, the communities affected and the political authorities that we, the European Family, stand ready to help where help is needed most,” said EU commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn in a statement on Monday (3 June).

The EU established the European Solidarity Fund in the aftermath of the 2002 floods to help set up emergency operations and rebuild damaged infrastructure.

The commission says flood-affected Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic can request access to the funds within ten weeks of the disaster.

The damage threshold for activating the aid is €1.79 billion for Austria, €872 million for the Czech Republic, and €3.67 billion for Germany.

Meanwhile, floods across central Europe are forcing thousands to evacuate as river water levels continue to rise.

More than two months of rainfall fell within 48 hours in some areas.

The Czech authorities announced Monday evening that they would open up a number of dams.

The extra flow is expected to increase the pressure on the River Vltava running through the capital Prague, reports the BBC.

The force of the river is ten times higher than normal, although officials says they do not expect it to reach levels seen in 2002.

Similar emergency disasters are noted elsewhere along the 2,800km Danube river.

Austria's Salzburg Times notes the Danube is expected to reach water levels of 11 metres in some parts on Tuesday.

The worst affected provinces are Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper and Lower Austria.

In the Hungarian capital Budapest, authorities are piling up defences to prevent the river from spilling over.

Workers in the Slovak capital Bratislava are also preparing for the worst. Police have shut down a number of roads and erected flood barriers along the Danube.

“We are getting bad news from Germany and Austria. We have to do all we can to protect ... the capital,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said, reports Reuters.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit the flood-affected zones in Germany on Tuesday.

Stretches of cargo shipping lanes of the Danube and the Rhine are closed due to high water levels with a number of factories, including Volkswagen in the eastern German state of Saxony, shut down.

NGO reveals German firms fail to meet UN human rights rule

A new report reveals that the biggest companies in Germany fail to manage measures to protect their employees and supply-chain from human rights abuses - ahead of the government deadline for introducing tough new regulation.

Automation threat to jobs will hit EU unevenly

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential "to displace some workers from their tasks, even causing some jobs to disappear entirely", affecting the work nature of millions of jobs in Europe, according to a new report.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
  2. Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December
  3. EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects
  4. UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III
  5. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  6. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  7. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  8. UK will not name new commissioner before election


FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.


A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. Key moments for new commission This WEEK
  2. EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner
  3. Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room
  4. Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner
  5. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  6. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  7. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act
  8. Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us