“If we have Europe, La Palma has a future after the volcano”

What may seem like one more phrase within the many that have been heard during the volcanic emergency of La Palma has an enormous significance in the face of the possibility of the arrival of aid from the rescue plans of the European Social Fund that would make possible a great investment for the recovery of the Island.

This phrase, pronounced by one of those affected, serves to summarize the visit that a group of MEPs, from practically the entire national political spectrum, made to the island of La Palma led by the popular Gabriel Mato. The MEP from La Palma was convinced that this meeting will serve to sensitize all formations on the need for the European Parliament to strongly support the Isla Bonita.

In addition to Mato (PP), who was in charge of organizing the agendas of his colleagues, Juan Ignacio Zoido (PP), Lina Gálvez (PSOE), José Ramón Bauzá (Ciudadanos), Izaskun Bilbao (PNV) and Mazaly participated in the mission. Aguilar (VOX).

Mato stressed that this visit has achieved “something that is not usual”, since it managed that “all political parties sit together on La Palma to analyze the situation” at a very important moment in which the European Parliament has to decide on aid from the Solidarity Fund.

The mission assesses on the ground the damage caused by the volcanic eruption


That is why he insisted that “it is important that these public representatives know first-hand what is happening here” and above all meet with the authorities and those affected to find out what is happening. Thus, Mato said that “they are going to come up with a very different conclusion from the one they had after visiting the Island,” all after “soaking up a situation and a tragedy that we are experiencing.”

During the visit they were able to verify the state of infrastructure and destroyed farms, as well as “sharing with neighbors who have lost everything and their concerns,” said the MEP before meeting with the already five existing platforms of affected people.

Regarding the visit, he also stressed that it will allow that when aid to La Palma is raised in the European Parliament “all political formations are very clear that the need is pressing and that they have to support it,” he said. In this regard, he added that the amounts of the European Solidarity Fund are not yet known, recalling that it must be the Government of Spain that has to request the mobilization of that fund twelve weeks from the start of the damage.

La Palma tree Gabriel Mato (PP) highlights that this “unit” will be key when it comes to processing aid


In this sense, he recalled that “aid is always slow”, but that in this case it will be “immediate, one-time and en bloc”, alluding to the fact that advances can also be requested. “What you have to do is request it,” he added.

In order to request these solidarity funds, he reported that the threshold of 1% of GDP in the amount of damages must be exceeded, which would be around 500 million euros, “and it is evident that it has been exceeded on La Palma,” he lamented, for which added that “there should be no problem mobilizing that fund.” In addition, he referred to the fact that there are other additional funds such as the crisis fund for the agricultural sector “and we have the possibility of the European Investment Bank”, in addition to emphasizing that “it is essential to allow the Posei to adapt to the needs of our farmers and that they can receive the aid, even if they have not been able to sell their products.

In addition, Mato highlights that more visits are not ruled out, such as that of the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski, who will be on La Palma in the first weeks of January, “being essential for the Island, although he is very aware.” Finally, and acting as a spokesperson for the group of MEPs, Mato referred to as an adoption claimant that “we are going through a bad time and there is a future that we have to face with optimism”, stressing that “we must turn this misfortune into a challenge for La Palma, being stronger than the volcano ».


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