Germany’s federal cabinet today approved financial support measures to provide immediate and unbureaucratic assistance to regions affected by recent floods. The federal government will provide an initial €200m to cover half of the costs of immediate assistance measures launched by the Länder. In addition, it will contribute financially to a comprehensive recovery programme.
“This is a disaster of national magnitude, with a high number of deaths and enormous damage. Some people have lost everything and must rely on our solidarity. The ongoing rescue operations, the mourning, and the reconstruction all require us to act together. The federal government will make its contribution too. To help people stricken by the floods, we are providing quick, generous and unbureaucratic assistance. We are setting up a recovery programme worth billions to clean up the devastation quickly and to rebuild infrastructure. At the same time, it is crucial for us to put effective disaster preparedness and prevention plans in place, to ensure smart reconstruction, and to further strengthen climate action. These measures will give our citizens confidence that the situation will get better soon.” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz
“Immediate assistance will give fast and unbureaucratic help to people who have lost all their possessions. There is enough money available. That’s what people pay taxes for, so that help can be provided in situations like this. Not everything can be insured. Länder and local authority governments will not be charged for the services performed by federal agencies – that has not always been the case. In addition, we’re setting up a State Secretaries’ Committee that will serve as a point of contact for Länder and local authority governments regarding the issue of reconstruction assistance.” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer
The assistance package contains the following measures:
- Immediate assistance
The federal government will provide an initial amount of €200m to cover half the costs of immediate assistance measures launched by the Länder. This money will be used to pay for emergency expenses and to repair direct damage to buildings and local infrastructure. This means that, for now, a total of €400m is being provided for immediate assistance. The federal government and the affected Länder will adopt the necessary administrative agreements as quickly as possible.
- Comprehensive recovery programme
The affected Länder face the enormous task of repairing damage and organising reconstruction in the coming months and years. The federal government has given its assurance that – as in previous flood disasters – it will contribute financing in the necessary amount to help pay for the recovery programmes currently being planned by the Länder. The specific form and design of recovery assistance measures will be agreed by the federal and Länder governments in joint talks as soon as more precise estimates of the total damage can be made.
- Repair and reconstruction of government-owned infrastructure
The federal government will take all necessary measures to repair and rebuild government-owned infrastructure as quickly as possible.
- Waiver of rescue expenses
The federal government will not require repayment of expenses incurred by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, the Federal Police, the Customs Administration and the Federal Armed Forces in connection with local rescue and assistance efforts. The same applies to expenses incurred by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration for the deployment of temporary bridges.
- Support from EU Solidarity Fund
The federal government is committed to obtaining resources from the EU Solidarity Fund to help cover the costs of flood damage and will file the necessary requests.
- In addition, the federal government is prepared to engage in talks with the Länder regarding the creation of a safety net for future emergencies, if all of the Länder are willing to contribute to the necessary solidarity-based financing for such a system.
Furthermore, the Federal Ministry of Finance has agreed to tax relief measures adopted by the Länder. It has also issued instructions for the provision of relief on taxes administered by the Customs Administration (more information in German is available at https://www.zoll.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/Sonstiges/2021/z38_hilfe_hochwasser.html).