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Thursday, 26 March 2009 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Community (amendment of the Single CMO Regulation) (debate)

  Agnes Schierhuber, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. (DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I, too, wish to express my sincere thanks to Mr Siekierski for his report. I would be so bold as to say that he has produced an extremely good piece of work.

For more than two decades the European Union has had a programme for food distribution to the most deprived people. Thus, in 2006, for example, it was possible to provide support to around 13 million people from 15 Member States by means of various aid measures. I believe this programme – and this is something that both the Commissioner and the rapporteur have already said – will play an important part in maintaining and promoting solidarity within our European community, because in my opinion the EU is, and remains, not only an economic common market, but also first and foremost a community of values and solidarity. Also in the context of a modern socio-environmental market economy with the three pillars of economy, environment and social affairs – all three being of equal importance so that all Member States can participate in this programme – I support the view of the rapporteur that, as previously, the programme should be funded 100% by the European Union.

I would like to emphasise that, although it is important for us primarily to use products produced within the Community, it should not, where necessary, remain solely limited to these products.

Finally, I would like to say that for me, personally, it goes without saying that we should help the poorest of the poor to the extent that we are able to do so. I very much hope that today, as the Commissioner said, a large majority will vote in favour of this report so that we can give a clear signal to the Council.

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