Brussels, 10 March 2014
Poverty: Commission welcomes final adoption of new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived
The European Commission welcomes today's definitive adoption by the EU's Council of Ministers of the Regulation on the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). The Fund will give Member States valuable support in their efforts to help Europe's most vulnerable people, who have been worst affected by the on-going economic and social crisis. In real terms, over €3.8 billion will be allocated to the Fund over the 2014-2020 period. Member States will be responsible for paying 15% of the costs of their national programmes, with the remaining 85% coming from the Fund.
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: "I welcome the agreement of the Parliament and the Council on the creation of this new Fund with a significantly increased budget, which will be able to ensure that around 4 million people will benefit from immediate assistance. I urge Member States to make full use of the Fund and to implement it according to their specific needs".
The FEAD will support Member States' actions to provide a broad range of non-financial material assistance including food, clothing and other essential goods for personal use such as shoes, soap and shampoo, to the most materially-deprived people. The FEAD will also require that the distribution of material assistance is combined with social reintegration measures such as guidance and support to help the most deprived to get out of poverty. Member States may also choose to provide only non-material assistance aimed at furthering the social inclusion of the most deprived persons.
The Fund will offer considerable flexibility to Member States, who will be able to choose, according to their own situation and traditions, the type of assistance they wish to provide (material or non-material assistance), and their preferred model for procuring and distributing the food and goods.
The Fund will contribute to meeting the target of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which commits the EU to reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty by at least 20 million.
In 2012, close to 125 million people - almost a quarter of the population in the EU - were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (see STAT/13/184). Almost 50 million are suffering severe material deprivation.
The European Union's main instrument to support employability, fight poverty and promote social inclusion is and will remain the European Social Fund (ESF). This structural instrument invests directly in people's competences and aims at improving their value on the labour market. Yet some of the most vulnerable citizens suffering from extreme forms of poverty are too far away from the labour market to benefit from the social inclusion measures of the European Social Fund.
The EU's Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived People (MDP) has since 1987 been an important source of provisions for organisations working in direct contact with the least fortunate people providing them with food. It was created to make good use of the then agricultural surpluses. With the expected depletion of intervention stocks and their high unpredictability over the period 2011-2020, as a consequence of successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, the MDP was discontinued at the end of 2013. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived replaces and improves the MDP.
The European Parliament approved the proposal in February (STATEMENT/14/22), so the Fund can now enter into force.
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