European food aid set to be cut by €1bn

EU leaders are letting Europe’s most vulnerable citizens down with proposed €1bn in cuts to its food aid programme. This is according to Liam Aylward MEP, who strongly criticised the cutbacks for this food aid programme at a European Parliament debate this afternoon. 

The Irish MEP said EU leaders are ignoring the importance of solidarity mechanisms and programmes for Europe’s most vulnerable citizens. “The current food aid programme, due to end in 2013, focused solely on supplying food supplies to Europe’s most deprived citizens. More than 18 million people rely on this scheme for food and it provides food aid in 20 member states with distribution chains involving some 240 food banks and charities,” he said.

“The new programme, with its proposed budget of €2.5bn for 2014 -2020 and extended scope, represents a significant cut in real terms. Reducing aid by €1bn compared to what is currently being done for food aid alone, will put extreme pressure on the organisations, charities and food banks that rely on this funding. The extension of scope under the new programme to include material deprivation and homelessness as well as food aid without adequate funding means that EU leaders are asking the organisations involved to do the impossible with a shrinking budget.

“There is even a proposal on the table in budget negotiations for this amount to be further reduced to €2.1bn. It is shocking that this important programme, which directly benefits those hardest hit by the economic crisis, is targeted by EU leaders for cuts.

The Ireland East MEP was commenting during a debate on the new programme for Europe’s most deprived citizens in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this afternoon. The European Parliament will vote tomorrow, Wednesday 12th of June on the budget.  

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