Food poverty: EU cuts funding to the poor
1 July 2011
“The decision of the European Commission has paralysed the thousands of charities that help the poorest on the Old Continent: the budget for food aid will be cut by 80 percent,” reports Le Soir. This decision, which reduces to a minimum (from 500 to 113 million euros) the aid the EU will give out in 2012 to charities that provide food to the poor, comes in wake of a legal ruling.
The idea of a system of social solidarity to redistribute agricultural surpluses as food aid to the poor was brought in (in the winter of 1986-87) by Jacques Delors, then President of the European Commission. (...) But in the last ten years, food surpluses have fallen. The contributions that had come from surpluses were then replaced by direct financial contributions to charities. One percent of CAP financing – that is, 500 million euros – was to finance the European Programme of Food Aid to the Most Deprived Persons (PEAD). Some countries, like Germany and Sweden, turned to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), arguing that this amount was purely social assistance unrelated to the CAP.
On April 12 the Court agreed with them by annulling the right to award a portion of the CAP budget for food distribution through charities. The Commission has not appealed. According to the latest study of the impact of the PEAD, more than 13 million people in Europe benefited from the programme in 2006, a year in which the number of people at risk of food poverty was estimated at 43 million in the EU of twenty-five states.