The EU is planning to reduce its assistance for people living in extreme hardship, replacing one aid fund for another with a smaller budget. The new Aid to the Most Deprived programme, which will run from 2014, will have 2.5 billion euros at its disposal. The European Commission acknowledges it will not solve all poverty-related problems.
Lásló Andor, EU commissioner for Social Affairs said: “It will certainly not be enough and it never was. The case most important is that there is a EU level instrument which can be combined with other resources which the member states or the volunteers, the organisations of the civil society can bring together to support those people really in need”.
The fund replaces the Food for the Most Deprived programme. NGOs say it is important for the EU to maintain solidarity with its most vulnerable citizens.
Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa said: “We expect at least to keep this fund as a symbol, as a sign from the European Union towards the most impoverished citizens, but we also expect that they are forseeing emergency funds if the situation goes wrong”
It had been feared the food aid programme would disappear altogether after some members states complained about it being financed from the Common Agricultural Policy. The new fund is being administered under the Social Cohesion Policy.