The Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK government to apply for a grant from the EU's Solidarity Fund to help support communities devastated by flooding in Northern England.
The EU Solidarity Fund, with a budget of up to £359 million a year (500 million euros), was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major natural disasters. When the 2007 floods hit, the UK was granted £134 million from the fund.
The EU funding could be used to help cover the costs of clean-up operations, temporary accommodation and rebuilding infrastructure in the wake of Storm Desmond. To benefit from the fund, the government must apply within 12 weeks of when the disaster hit.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron commented.
"I've been inspired by the incredible resilience shown by local communities in the wake of these devastating floods and the warmth of spirit and generosity of all those donating money to help the victims.
"Those affected need all the help they can get, which is why I am urging the government to urgently look at applying for European solidarity funding.
"This funding could provide a lifeline for local authorities, helping them pay for clean-up costs and rebuilding vital infrastructure. It would be wrong to turn it down for political reasons."
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented:
"I am ready to work with the government to help secure this funding and ensure it is available to help all those who have had their lives ruined by these terrible floods.
"One of the strengths of being in Europe is that westand together, through both good times and bad."