"We have to work on prevention in order to avoid damages instead of fixing them" pointed out Vito Santarsiero, Member of the Basilicata Regional Council (PES/Italy) and CoR rapporteur on the opinion "A European policy on the seismic requalification of buildings and infrastructure", adopted today.
The opinion follows up on the fact-finding mission of the CoR's Conference of Presidents held in May 2017 in the four Italian regions that were hit by the earthquake i.e. Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and Marche. As Mr. Santarsiero emphasises in his opinion, the Member States of the European Union have many buildings that require significant maintenance due to their structural condition - the data of the Eurostat and Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) show that, in the EU27, around 40% of the buildings were built before 1960. Hence, the CoR rapporteur demands for all new infrastructure built with ESIF and EU funds to be disaster-efficient.
Guaranteeing the safety of buildings will also mean to interact positively with the EU's regional and cohesion policies and objectives because it stimulates investment and, at the same time, respects and preserves the conservation of the cultural and historical heritage. The rapporteur calls to establish a Europe-wide criterion which should be used for classifying the seismic vulnerability of the infrastructures. A European framework should also be created to regulate seismic requalification measures.
However, the best measure is always prevention. This could be achieved not only through preventive requalification work but also by raising community awareness. The first steps in this direction are to promote seismic education in schools and to communicate actively on the possible consequences of earthquakes.