2010 floods in the CR: the financial support from EU funds sent to impacted regions and municipalities after 18 months
PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 14/27 – May 18, 2015
The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) carried out an audit of the Ministry of Finance and selected beneficiaries – recipients of the financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund, which was utilised in the Czech Republic to deal with damages caused by the floods in 2010. To deal with the damages, the total amount of CZK 400 million was drawn by the Czech Republic; the sum represents the maximum possible grant from the Fund. Auditors scrutinized the Ministry and its administration of financial assistance in the amount of CZK 345 million. The eligibility of costs was verified with support in the amount of CZK 278 million. Auditors did not reveal serious errors but found out that the financial aid from the EU Solidarity Fund was sent to impacted regions and municipalities as late as after 18 months.
The EU Solidarity Fund is supposed to provide a financial assistance to impacted areas so that they return to “normal life” as soon as possible. But the funds from the EU Solidarity Fund were sent to the recipients (municipal and regional authorities and organisations established by them) as late as 18 months after the Ministry of Finance had transmitted the applications to the Commission. The financial transfer was repeatedly postponed because of long approval processes. As a result, the EU accepted new regulations in 2014, which should help provide the support from the EU Solidarity Fund without such delays.
When reimbursing the repair costs, the Ministry of Finance strictly proceeded in accordance with the relevant provisions. The Ministry controlled that only eligible costs were refunded and provided the beneficiaries with methodological support and consultations. Most money from the financial assistance was utilised to deal with damages in the transport infrastructure and energy, water-management, and telecommunication networks.
The regional authorities informed the public in the impacted regions about possibilities of financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund in different ways: On its web pages, Ústí nad Labem Region only published general information about the aid’s approval conditions and a brief outline of eligible costs. On the other hand, South Moravian and Liberec Regions organized seminars concerning the conditions of financing and published the methodology, informed about up-to-date situations, and published terms for submitting applications for the subsidy on their web pages.
The floods in 2010 caused public property damages in the amount of CZK 16,000 million. Funds in the amount of CZK 5,300 million were drawn from the State budget to deal with the damages.
Supreme Audit Office