Storm damage compensation looks promising

  • 2005-04-27
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The European Union is likely to make a position decision on Latvia's application for storm damage compensation after hurricane-level winds hit the country in January, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Danuta Huebner said this week.

The commissioner added that the money would come from the EU Solidarity Fund.

During her short visit to Riga, Huebner told the press that the European Commission needed three or four months to review compensation applications filed by the Baltic countries, all three of which suffered from the heavy storm.

A decision about taking money from the Solidarity Fund is expected in May, Huebner added.

Finance Minister Oskars Spurdzins previously said that the country would most likely receive only about 1 million lats (1.42 million euros) from the fund, even though total damages are estimated at 154.2 million lats.

EU compensation will chime to the amount of 2.5 's 6 percent of the total loss. The specific figure will be determined by a number of factors.

By law, the Solidarity Fund's money can only be used in compensation for emergency-prevention expenditures, such as resuming a country's power and water supply and restoring its telecommunication, transport, health and education infrastructure.

On January 9, Latvia, along with its Baltic neighbors, saw the strongest storm to hit the area in the past 40 years. Winds of up to 40 meters per second raged across the country, causing coastal floods, communication breakdowns and a power blackout that darkened 60 percent of the state's territory. Other countries along the Baltic Sea, such as Denmark, Sweden and Russia's Pskov region also suffered damage from the storm. o