Government has been in touch with the European Commission to begin the process of tapping into the European Solidarity Fund.
All government departments have officially commenced with studies in order to cost the extent of all damages.
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia contacted European Commissioners Corina Cretu and Christos Stylianides to inform them that such studies have commenced, and that Malta will be formally triggering the process of tapping into the fund.
The bad weather on Saturday and Sunday caused extensive damage to Malta’s infrastructure, agriculture, as well as a number of seafront businesses.
Should financial assistance through the EU be granted, it will come from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), which was set up to respond to major natural disasters within Europe.
The Fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used for 80 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought.
According to the European Commission, 24 different European countries have been supported since the EUSF was founded, for an amount of over €5 billion.
Malta first made use of the EUSF nearly 16 years ago, when heavy storms and flooding on 15th September 2003 caused severe disruption to economic activity, including to fish farming installations at sea and damage to infrastructure and the natural environment – scenes which repeated themselves in various localities over this weekend.
In 2003, the Commission had ruled that the disaster qualified for aid under the "major disaster" criterion of the EUSF regulation, with total direct damage estimated at over €30 million. A record €14 million worth of insurance payouts had been made.
The Solidarity Fund contributed to compensate costs linked to emergency operations, and had granted Malta nearly €1 million.