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Commission acts to increase to € 500 million the funds for the most deprived in 2012

European Commission - IP/12/194   28/02/2012

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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."

Background

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:

  • The scheme remains fully funded out of the EU budget with a ceiling of €500 million per budget year.

  • The current scheme ends following a phasing-out period, which would terminate with the completion of the 2013 annual plan.

  • The legal basis of the Most Deprived Programme of the EU remains unchanged (Articles 42 and 43(2)) for the duration of the phasing-out period.

  • Market purchases are made a regular source of supply for the programme to complement intervention stocks. However, priority would be given to the use of suitable intervention stocks where these are available.

  • Member States choose the food products on the basis of objective criteria including nutritional values and suitability for distribution.

  • Member States may give preference to food products of Union origin.

  • The storage costs born by the charities become eligible for reimbursement.

  • Retroactive applicability as from 1 January 2012.

More information:

Annex: Total financial resources available to implement the 2012 plan (in EURO)

Final Total amounts

Previously granted (June 2011)

Supplementary amounts

Belgium

11 710 463

2 795 058

8 915 405

Bulgaria

21 439 346

4 183 873

17 255 473

Czech Republic 

135 972

122 600

13 372

Estonia

2 359 486

718 782

1 640 704

Ireland

2 594 467

1 304 105

1 290 362

Greece

21 651 199

4 805 742

16 845 457

Spain

80 401 345

18 084 154

62 317 191

France

70 563 823

15 869 928

54 693 895

Italy

95 641 425

22 103 802

73 537 623

Latvia

5 558 220

1 558 586

3 999 634

Lithuania

7 491 644

1 849 759

5 641 885

Luxembourg

171 704

47 463

124 241

Hungary

13 715 022

3 237 794

10 477 228

Malta

721 992

131 505

590 487

Poland

75 296 812

17 310 824

57 985 988

Portugal

19 332 607

4 524 628

14 807 979

Romania

60 689 367

12 035 925

48 653 442

Slovenia

2 533 778

515 467

2 018 311

Slovakia

5 098 384

959 383

4 139 001

Finland

2 892 944

1 327 965

1 564 979

Total

500 000 000

113 487 343*

386 512 657

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.

Contact :

Roger Waite (+32 2 296 14 04)


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