Italian regions' requests for EU solidarity funds denied

Marche governor says refusal is a 'big disappointment'

Italian regions' requests for EU solidarity funds denied

(ANSA) - Ancona, September 26 - The request by 11 Italian regions for European Union solidarity funds for damage from heavy snowstorms last February was refused on Wednesday by an EU review commission. The regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Tuscany and Umbria together applied for 2.7 billion euros for last winter's snow emergency. According to European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, "the request does not meet the criteria required for the EU solidarity fund". Brussels reviewers said that two out of the three criteria were not met, including the minimal damage estimate filed by Italy, which was below the 3.6 billion euros required. Italy submitted documentation estimating 2.7 billion euros in damages. Marche Regional Governor Gian Mario Spacca called the decision a "great disappointment". "The EU has not heard our people's cry of suffering brought on by the emergency that has harmed living conditions in our territory," said Spacca. Spacca emphasised that "the formalism the European Union applies is a standardized assessment based only on the parameters of red tape. It disregards the real aspects of a painful event that forced us to call on Europe's solidarity".

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