2005 - 03 - 17

*Sweden has now submitted its application for assistance from the EU Solidarity fund

The Swedish Government has now submitted Sweden's application for aid from EU's solidarity fund for damage caused by the storm in Southern Sweden. The objective is that the fund shall cover part of the costs resulting from the storm.

A precondition for EU aid is that a country's total direct loss and damage must amount to not less than the equivalent of 0.6 per cent of gross national income. In Sweden's case that is about 14.5 billion SEK. According to the Swedish application estimated costs are 20.8 billion SEK, which means that Sweden exceeds this threshold. Damage to forests, about 15.8 billion SEK, constitutes by far the largest part of this sum.

The EU Commission's established practice is that maximum aid to a Member State must not be more than 2.5 per cent of total direct damage up to the threshold value (0,6 per cent of gross national income) and 6 % of the amount exceeding that threshold. If the EU Commission follows this established practice, maximum refunds to Sweden will amount to just over 740 million SEK.

The rules of the solidarity fund stipulate that only public expenses in direct connection with various emergency measures can be reimbursed by the fund.

Rebuilding infrastructure, provisional measures for providing lodging, rescue operations, protection of cultural heritage and clearing of areas hit by the disaster are examples of measures that entitle to subsidies.

According to the Swedish application the estimated costs that entitle to subsidies amount to 778 million SEK. The most important individual items are costs incurred by "Banverket" (the Swedish Railroad Administration), the Swedish Road Administration, the municipalities concerned and some costs incurred by the State in connection with the special aid package that the Government presented in February.

The EU Commission will now deal with the application and it will make an estimate of the costs for Sweden. A response can be expected at the earliest in four month's time.