Today we have a question from Tom in Paris:
“Hello, I read somewhere recently that the European food aid programme for the poor could disappear. What exactly is going on?”
The answer is brought to us by Maurice Lony, Director of the French Federation of Food Banks:
“Well this European programme for the Most Deprived was created in 1987 to answer an existing need within the European Union. Initially, it was funded with farming surpluses.
“Then, as farming production became better regulated, the programme evolved and it is now funded with a purely budgetary envelope.
“By doing this, the programme has lost its “Common Agricultural Policy” overtone to become just a social aid programme. A number of states disagree with this. They say social aid is the responsibility of each individual nation, not the EU’s. All the same, they have agreed for this programme to be extended until the end of 2013.
“So, today, we are faced with this expiry date of 2014, and we think it’s unacceptable that there isn’t be a replacement programme.
“If this programme were to disappear, it would affect 13 million Europeans who are considered deprived. In France alone, that’s three million people. For French organisations, this programme represents between a quarter and half of their supplies. As for Poland, 90 percent of its supplies to help the poor comes from the European programme.
“Here’s what we want: in a month’s time, heads of state and government are meeting to discuss the creation of a new programme. We are asking these European politicians, first of all, to commit to the creation of a new to tool to help the poor. Secondly, we want the main lever of this tool to be food aid because that opens the door to social integration. And finally, we want this programme to receive a minimum of 500 million euros a year – that’s one euro per EU citizen per year – bearing in mind that the true sum needed is closer to 700 million euros per year.”
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