Europe is with you, says European Commission president in Italy

During her visit to the Emilia-Romagna region this Thursday (25), the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said she was in Italy “to send a very clear message: Europe is with you”.

Alongside the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, the European leader flew over the most affected cities and later both were received in Bologna by the governor of the region, Stefano Bonaccini, by the mayor of the city, Attilio Visconti, and by the head of Civil Defense, Fabrizio Curcio.

“Thank you for having me. It was hard, it broke my heart to see the landslides, these deep scars left by landslides. It’s important to have this view from the top of the devastation,” she told the authorities.

Von der Leyen also praised the voluntary work of many Italians and also citizens from other parts of the bloc, who went to the Emilia-Romagna region through the civil protection mechanism of the European bloc. However, the Chief Executive stressed that the total funds should reach the site within three months.

“It is urgent to start with the solidarity fund, but there are very important rules to respect. There will be a first payment, then the damage estimates to have a clearer idea of ​​the contribution that will come from the EU. And this will happen in the next three months. Afterwards, we see what else can be done”, he told journalists, adding that the cohesion fund can also be activated.

The first informal survey carried out by Emilia-Romagna points to material damage of around 7 billion euros, but the figure should increase even more when all the damage is accounted for.

For his part, Meloni thanked Von der Leyen for the visit, saying that this is a “concrete sign” of the EU’s closeness in this difficult moment and also praised the nine countries of the bloc that have already offered teams and materials to help Emilia-Romagna.

“The support of the Union occurs in this most important phase. In the coming weeks, we will make the first total calculation of the damage caused by the floods and ask for the activation of the solidarity fund, something that Italy, unfortunately, has already needed on other occasions”, he pointed out.

The strong wave of bad weather that hit the Italian region left, in addition to damage to houses, public buildings and road infrastructure, 15 dead. (ANSA).