EU pledges 1.2 billion euro aid package to Italy's flood-devastated region

Eight months after floods ravaged Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, causing widespread devastation and claiming 15 lives, the President of the European Commission unveiled a 1.2 billion euro aid package for the area's reconstruction.

Ursula von der Leyen, joined by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, made the announcement during her visit to the region, concluding her tour in Forli, one of the hardest-hit cities.

Von der Leyen attributed the severe and devastating floods, following months of extreme drought, to climate change, emphasizing the need for prevention.

The allocation became available after Italy and the EU negotiated an amendment to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), the Italian version of the Next Generation EU plan.

"Besides the PNRR, we also have the agricultural funds. The farmers of Emilia-Romagna are particularly impacted. So we have provided them with EUR 60 million from the agriculture emergency reserve," said Von der Leyen in a speech.

In November 2023, Italy received an advanced payment of 95 million euros in aid from the EU solidarity fund to help cope with emergency, clean-up and recovery operations.

Prime Minister Meloni then announced that Von der Leyen will attend the Italy-Africa Conference, which will see several African heads of state in Rome on Sunday, January 28th.