Agreement reached on food aid
After a long delay, agriculture ministers agreed on Thursday (15 December) to continue the EU’s food aid programme for deprived people for another two years. The food-sourcing will now formally come mostly from market purchases rather than intervention stocks.
The agreement, which has already been approved by MEPs, will provide €1 billion to buy food for redistribution to deprived people over the next two years. Around 18 million people in 20 member states currently benefit from the programme, which has been running since 1987.
In 2008 the European Commission had proposed expanding the programme and changing its relationship with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). But six member states – including the Czech Republic, Germany and the UK – were opposed and called for the programme to be ended.
Because intervention stocks have been progressively reduced by CAP reforms, the food-sourcing has increasingly come from the market. The new programme would provide funding for these purchases. But the objecting countries argued that this is now a social programme and therefore the responsibility of member states.
Germany dropped its opposition to continuing the programme following strong lobbying from France, agreeing to the two-year extension provided the European Commission pledged to call a halt in 2013. The Commission has issued a statement saying that it takes notice of the opposition to the legal basis for the current scheme. The decision will apply retroactively from 1 January 2012 since it will probably not be adopted before then.
Click Here: cheap INTERNATIONAL jersey