European Commission - Press release
Commission acts to increase to € 500 million the funds for the most deprived in 2012
Brussels, 28 February 2012 - The final distribution of the 2012 Aid for the Needy Scheme has been voted through the Management Committee today and will be published in the Official Journal in the near future. It confirms that a total of €500 million will be available for the scheme this year – with a projected 18-19 million people in 20 Member States expected to benefit. Today's vote follows last week's formal adoption of the new legal framework by the European Parliament and the Council.
Last year, following a Court ruling on 13 April 2011 that any food covered by the programme could only be sourced from public intervention stocks (and not from the open market), the commitment for 2012 was limited to just € 113 million - equivalent to the remaining volumes of public stocks (see IP/11/756). The Commission was already aware of this potential problem in the existing regulation resulting from the emptying of public stocks, and had previously tabled proposals in 2008 to avoid problems with sourcing food supplies. With the proposals blocked in Council (despite support from the European Parliament), the Commission amended its proposals in September 2010 (see IP/10/1141) and again in October 2011 (see IP/11/1148) in order to facilitate an agreement. In December 2011, EU Farm Ministers reached agreement on these new rules which will permit monetary allocations for the purchase of food products on the market, in the absence of intervention stocks. This was subsequently backed in European Parliament and Council 2nd Readings, and published in the Official Journal last week. The Commission has been working with Member States (and charity organisations) in recent weeks in order to ensure that the final volumes available could be finalised as soon as possible after the new regulation was adopted.
Speaking after today's vote, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Cioloș stated: "I am delighted that we have finally been able to adopt measures which will take up the full Aid for the Needy budget available for 2012. In this time of economic crisis, this scheme has become more important than ever, and I believe that the provision of €500m of EU funds for this purpose is an important signal of solidarity in these difficult times."
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner László Andor stated: "I am glad that Europe did not let down those who need our help most. The EU needs strong and visible instruments to fight against social exclusion. We have committed to reduce the number of poor people in the EU by at least 20 million at the end of the decade and this programme is and should remain part of this effort."
The EU’s “Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived Persons of the Community” (MDP) has been in place since December 1987, when the Council adopted the rules for releasing public intervention stocks of agricultural products to Member States wishing to use them as food aid for the most deprived persons of the Community.
Following intensive negotiations, the Council reached a political agreement on 15 December 2011 on the continuation of the current scheme up to 2013. During its February plenary session, the European Parliament endorsed the Council position, in order to allow the entry into force of the new rules as soon as possible. Regulation (EU) No 121/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards distribution of food products to the most deprived persons in the Union was adopted on 15 February 2012.
The main provisions of the revised programme are the following:
Annex: Total financial resources available to implement the 2012 plan (in EURO)
Note: * Formally speaking the June 2011 allocations were supplemented by 7 million EURO for intra-EU budget transfers, but these were never allocated to specific Member States;
See IP/10/1284 for distribution under 2011 programme.