The Committee of the Regions (CoR) warmly welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of a report by Emer Costello (IE/S&D) on the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived. The EP's final text includes key recommendations set out in a CoR opinion drafted by Ossi Martikainen (FI/ALDE) and adopted in April earlier this year. The CoR and EP agree that the €2.5bn proposed by the European Commission over the next seven years is insufficient and call for an additional €1bn for the fund. The EP also endorsed the CoR's position on refusing a voluntary participation of Member States in the Fund, which will provide up to 85% EU co-financing of the scheme costs.
"The final outcome of the European Parliament vote today takes into consideration many of the demands made by local and regional authorities" said Mr Martikainen, adding that: "It is a timely vote, reflecting the current times of difficulty for the citizens most in need. With the final vote the European Parliament recognised this imperative and widened the scope of the fund so as to also include clothing and other essential goods for the homeless".
Looking at the final stage of the negotiation on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020, Mr Martikainen insisted on the need for a sufficient financial support: "We now call on the MFF negotiators to provide the Fund with adequate resources. The budgetary commitment should at least be equal to the 2007-2013 allocation for the European food aid programme for deprived persons."
The report adopted by the Parliament repeatedly stresses the role of regional and local authorities in identifying the actual needs of the most vulnerable citizens, as well as in planning and implementing the interventions financed through the fund, ensuring synergies and coordination with other social policy tools and strategies. In this respect, the CoR recommendations have been fully included and the responsibilities of cities and regions in fighting against deprivation have been adequately acknowledged.