Solution approved on EU food scheme for most vulnerable persons
The European Parliament today approved a compromise solution on a scheme under the CAP, which provides food aid to the most vulnerable persons in the EU. The compromise follows the lines of a Green proposal made last year and would see the scheme continued until 2013 (around €500 million per year). This will ensure food banks across Europe are given sufficient time to prepare for a change in the scheme, rather than the disruption that would be caused by ending it abruptly. In the longer run, the food aid scheme needs to be reformed and given the broader remit of lifting people out of food poverty and, as such, placed under the European Social Fund, rather than the CAP. Commenting on the vote, Green social affairs spokesperson Marije Cornelissen said:
"It is a relief that the millions of vulnerable people relying on the scheme will be able to rely on it for a further two years. While there are clearly problems with the scheme in its current format, it would be irresponsible to abruptly end the scheme, as the agriculture ministers had originally envisaged. The Commission must now use the interim phase to develop proposals for an EU scheme that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable people in a better way."
"Whereas, formerly, agricultural surpluses could be used to provide food used for this scheme, these surpluses have now almost disappeared, and rightly so. We should now look at ways in which food banks can start operating independently of supplies from surpluses, and most of all, how the EU can support modern anti-poverty measures aimed at lifting people out of poverty and therefore reducing dependency on food aid."