In 2005, the European Parliament approved a written declaration on the durability of the European food aid programme for the most deprived persons. The declaration not only advocated a permanent food aid programme plus an annual budget, but also called for it to be expanded. To ensure distribution of balanced food rations, the European Parliament called for the programme to be opened up to new sectors such as pork, poultry and eggs.
Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, was tasked with following up the declaration. That fact is that, three years later, there is still no sign of a basis for a new regulation and that only modest steps have been taken. As yet, it is totally unclear what budget funding is available.
Food aid is very much an issue in the European Union, where 16% of the population lives below the poverty line. Can the Commission ensure a food aid programme at European level? In the process, will it enter into a dialogue with the European NGOs active in the field?