Brussels, 25/02/2014 (Agence Europe) – By 592 votes to 61 and 31 abstentions on Tuesday 25 February, the European Parliament endorsed an agreement with the EU Council of Ministers and European Commission (see EUROPE 10973) for a fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (EAMD) for 2014-2020. The new version will have the same budget as the previous version, €3.8 billion in today's prices with two co-financing rates: 85% and 95%. The final step will be for the Council to endorse the agreement over the next few weeks.
After the vote, MEP Emer Costello (S&D, Italy) welcomed the outcome, saying that the European Parliament's main demands had been achieved. He said in a press release that this was the very first EU measure to target the most deprived in society, such as those prey to child poverty and homelessness in all member states. He said that in the talks with the European Commission and the member states, the European Parliament had managed to have the budget increased from a proposed €2.5 billion to €3.5 billion, had given associations a greater role in the design, implementation and monitoring of the fund's work, and had slashed red tape.
Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor said: “This Fund will give member states valuable support in their efforts to help Europe's most vulnerable people, and demonstrates the EU's solidarity with the weakest – those who have been worst affected by the economic and social crisis. (…) The new fund not only gives member states more flexibility in terms of procuring food to be distributed, so that the money will go further, but also can be used for clothing and other essential goods (such as shoes, soap and shampoo) for distribution to the most vulnerable, such as homeless people.'
MEP Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL, France) poured a little cold water over the festivities by commenting that, although the vote was positive, the campaign had to continue to ensure that Europe does not ignore its duty to fight poverty, especially because the response of Europe's leaders to the crisis has hit the most vulnerable the hardest in recent years with austerity policies that are an economic and social catastrophe. (JK/transl.fl)