The Danish Prime Minister and the other EU Heads of State and Government have received a letter from the President of the Commission, Mr Romano Prodi, the German Chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schröder and the Austrian Chancellor, Mr Wolfgang Schüssel concerning the flooding in Central Europe. The Danish EU Presidency has been in close contact with the Commission, Germany and Austria about the content of the letter.
In the letter it is underlined that there is a need for the EU to give its contribution to solving the comprehensive problems caused by the flooding. The possibility of creating an EU Disaster Fund which can help in the present situation and in future catastrophes is mentioned. Furthermore the letter mentions a number of specific possibilities for aid within the existing EU programmes.
For the moment the Commission is working very hard to create a total picture of the various possibilities. When that work is finished, which is expected very soon, the Council can start work on the different initiatives.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen states:
”The Danish Presidency wishes once more to express its deepest sympathy over the human lives that has been lost in the catastrophe and with the people who has lost their houses and homes. Ahead lies an enormous work of reconstruction. The flooding has affected EU Member States as well as candidate countries. EU must act quickly to assist all countries concerned. The Danish Presidency will do its utmost to this end.
The Danish Presidency will in every way make sure that the process dealing with the specific proposals from the Commission will be quick and efficient. As soon as the Commission has put forward its proposals the Presidency will call a meeting in the COREPER. After that the proposals will be discussed in the Council. If an extraordinary meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council is necessary we will arrange such a meeting. The matter will already be on the agenda for the informal Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Elsinore (Helsingør) on 30-31 August.”