Today, the Commission signed an agreement with Türkiye on a €400 million grant from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to finance post-disaster recovery operations after the devastating earthquakes that hit the country in early 2023.
The signing of the agreement took place in Brussels, between Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and Turkish Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mehmet Kemal Bozay.
This is the largest financial contribution awarded under the EUSF for a candidate country since its inception in 2002, and it is part of the €1 billion support that the EU announced for Türkiye in March 2023 at the International Donors' Conference. The Conference, co-hosted by the Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council, helped to raise a total of €7 billion in pledges for those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
Today's grant worth a total of €400 million is part of an EU Solidarity Fund package adopted by the Commission on 23 August 2023 and will further support Türkiye in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
The Turkish authorities intend to use the assistance for:
- restoring infrastructure in the fields of health, education and water and wastewater management;
- providing temporary accommodation to meet the needs of the population; and
- implementing measures to protect the country's rich, cultural heritage.
The Commission will disburse the €400 million in EUSF assistance to Türkiye in a single instalment. Counting from the day of payment, Türkiye has 18 months to use the funds and must submit an implementation report 6 months after this period.
The EUSF is one of the EU's main instruments for post-disaster recovery and a tangible expression of EU solidarity. It helps Member States and accession countries to handle the financial burden caused by major natural disasters. Since April 2020, in the framework of the EU efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope of the EUSF has been extended to cover major public health emergencies.
Since 2002, the EUSF has mobilised over €8.2 billion for interventions in 129 disaster events (109 natural disasters and 20 health emergencies) in 24 Member States (plus the UK) and 3 accession countries (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia).
As part of the MFF mid-term review package, the European Council on 1 February 2024 agreed to increase by €1.5 billion the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve for the period 2024-2027, shared between EUSF and the Emergency Aid Reserve.
The two catastrophic earthquakes that hit Türkiye on 6 and 20 February 2023 affected the livelihoods of 16 million people and caused extensive damages to housing, infrastructure and superstructures. After the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, 21 EU Member States together with Albania, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia offered search and rescue teams or assistance in coordination with the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre and the Turkish authorities. Additional support has been provided bilaterally.
During an International Donor's Conference in March 2023, the EU pledged €1 billion for Türkiye and to date almost the entire amount has been mobilised:
- To deal with the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, the EU mobilised €78.2 million of the EU's humanitarian funding for Türkiye. The Commission has made available an additional €66.8 million in cooperation funds (from the IPA-II programme) for health and protection of vulnerable people-related actions (notably women and children), as well as recovery of the agriculture sector, and the rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure and heritage.
- In close consultation with the Turkish authorities, the Commission has prepared a €355.6 million package to support refugees and host communities in the affected areas with infrastructure rehabilitation and socio-economic support.
- The Commission has allocated €35 million in guarantees to support a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan benefitting municipalities. Finance here will support the rehabilitation, construction and extension of drinking water, sewerage and stormwater networks, as well as wastewater treatment plants. It will also support the purchase and installation of smart systems, machinery and equipment for water utilities.
- Following approval from the Council and the European Parliament to mobilise EUSF assistance, the Commission has awarded an additional €400 million in assistance under the EU Solidarity Fund. These funds will be used for reconstruction of critical infrastructure in the areas of health, education, water and wastewater. Part of the funds are allocated to provide temporary accommodation for the needs of the population, as well as to protect cultural heritage.
This catastrophe, one of the worst in the country’s history, shocked us all as we saw the devastating effects it had on the Turkish people. Across Europe, there was an outpouring of sympathy for the lives lost and the homes destroyed. It is no surprise then that this is the largest amount ever awarded by the EU Solidarity Fund to a candidate country. It is also the first time for Türkiye to receive EUSF aid. When support is needed, Europe responds – not only for its Member States, but also for its neighbours. The EUSF is all about standing in solidarity with countries and people.
Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
- Publication date
- 7 February 2024
- Representation in Cyprus