Saturday, 30 May 2009

EU solidarity: Hurricane and President Klaus

”Derailing the gravy train” is the grandiloquent motto of the Berlaymonster blog, but at least it helps the passengers to while away the hours until the Britons’ carriage crashes out.

Yesterday, 29 May 2009 the Commission’s disaster-prone Berlaymont building served us a generous helping of solidarity:

“European Union Solidarity Fund: the Commission proposes to grant aid of € 109.4 million to France following Hurricane Klaus

The President of the Commission, Mr José Manuel Barroso, today confirmed the Commission's proposal to allocate aid totalling €109.4 million following the devastation caused by Hurricane Klaus in south-west France in January 2009. This aid will be used to repay the cost of emergency measures such as relief operations, cleaning up the affected areas and repair of basic infrastructures.

President Barroso stated: "My thoughts go out first of all to the victims and their families affected by this disaster. It is the solidarity of all the Member States that is being expressed today towards France, showing once again one of the reasons for the existence of the European Union. I welcome the fact that the Commission dealt with France's request with the utmost expediency, thereby allowing this aid to be granted as quickly as possible."

The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was created after the floods which affected central Europe during summer 2002. It grants emergency aid to Member States and accession countries affected by major natural disasters.”


“Nomen est omen”, said the old Romans.

Persons familiar with European Union affairs are painfully aware of the existence of the Czech Republic’s President Vaclav Klaus, a natural disaster in his own right, but without any acknowledged relation to global warming.

Klaus is also a man of solidarity, a staunch defender of the underdog. The numbers may be smaller in the Lisbon Treaty ratification game ─ a paltry 26 to 1 at half time ─ but Klaus has steadfastly refused to attach his name to the ratification instrument.

Perhaps Klaus hopes for a pseudo-scientific disaster to hit Ireland at the time of the referendum on the better deal, or for British diplomacy to acquire the shape of William Hague.

We live in a disaster-prone world, after all, as Berlaymonster knows.

Ralf Grahn