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MEPs debate food aid extension to EU's poorest

MEPs debate food aid extension to EU's poorest
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Could food aid to Europe’s most needy soon become a thing of the past? Set up in 1987 to help the bloc’s most deprived citizens, MEP’s in Strasbourg have been mulling over whether to extend the scheme by two more years.

Supporters of the EU’s food-sourcing programme say it is vital for Europe’s poorest people.

‘‘A lot of people from different social groups find themselves in poverty because of the economic crisis, both in southern and northern EU countries and in new and older member states. This programme is also needed now because of the winter. A lot of homeless people are in a very difficult situation.’‘ Polish MEP Czeslaw Adam Siekierski said.

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light for two more years, but the programme’s long-term future is less clear.

While Brussels had proposed an expansion of food aid scheme, several EU countries, including Germany, the UK and Czech Republic objected, arguing it should be the responsibility of national governments.

Speaking from Strasbourg euronews’ Isabel Marques da Silva said: “The EU Commission estimates 43 million people are at risk of food poverty. Currently less than half of them receive food aid. But, even if MEPs vote ‘Yes’ to an extension we will only know in 2014 if the programme will remain the responsibility of the EU or individual countries.’‘

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