Food Aid Saved At Last

An agreement was reached on Nov. 29 to set up a European most deprived persons fund.

Charitable associations had to wage a bitter three-year struggle to save European food aid, a struggle fought with the support of the French deputies to the European parliament, in particular those belonging to the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL). (1)

The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union reached an agreement on Nov. 29 to set up a European most deprived persons fund (MDPF). Its seven-year budget will amount to 3.5 billion euros, exactly like the preceding program, which was canceled by the European courts following a complaint filed by Germany and six other member states.

The MDPF will begin operations from January 1, 2014. “These are all positive elements which were far from certain at the outset,” pointed out Patrick Le Hyaric, the vice-president of the GUE-NGL group in the European Parliament. “This is a big victory,” he emphasized.

It comes as “a relief for 18 million Europeans” according to the Secours populaire and the Restos du coeur (two French charitable organizations), the Red Cross, and the food banks. But the associations warned that “those involved in humanitarian causes must nevertheless remain mobilized.”

The MDPF budget will not be adequate to meet the explosion of poverty in Europe, all the more so as this budget will have to be shared with the new member states.

(1) European United Left/Nordic Green Left is a left-wing political group in the European Parliament established in 1995. The group is mainly made up of socialist and communist parties.