EU to Pay €60M to Britain for Repair of 2015-16 Flood Damage – Despite Brexit

Britain will get 60 million euros (51.3 million pounds) from the European Union to repair damage caused by the floods last year, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Britain had asked for EU support to rebuild infrastructure damaged by heavy rains in the winter of 2015-16. European Parliament lawmakers will approve the grants on Wednesday, clearing the way for the funds to be disbursed, parliament officials said.

“When one member state has a problem, others actively collaborate and help. The UK will benefit from EU solidarity despite Brexit and the triggering of Article 50,” said the lawmaker in charge of the dossier, Portuguese conservative José Manuel Fernandes.

Britain began last week the two-year process of quitting the EU, but it will remain a full member state until Brexit occurs, sharing benefits and costs of the membership. The settlement of Britain’s financial commitments to the EU is considered one of the most contentious issues in the negotiations.

The aid to the flood-stricken regions will come from the EU Solidarity Fund, which is used to help countries hit by natural disasters. It is the second time that Britain has received financial support from the fund since it was set up in 2002.

In total, Britain has been allocated more than 220 million euros [US$230 million] in EU solidarity aid, making the country the third largest beneficiary after Italy and Germany. The former was hit in the last decade by several earthquakes and floods; the latter by floods.

The procedure to release the funds was approved by the European Commission in January after Britain requested help and detailed the support needed. EU states have already approved the aid for Britain.

The EU Solidarity Fund has a financial reserve of more than 1 billion euros [$1.1 billion].

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Larry King)