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Parliamentary question - P-005365/2013Parliamentary question

European Food Aid Programme (PEAD) in 2014

Question for written answer P-005365-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE)

One of the Europe 2020 strategy’s five targets is fighting poverty and social exclusion in the EU. Funding for food aid is one element in the EU’s anti‐poverty policy, and 116 million Europeans are now at risk of falling into poverty. Currently, the EU’s main instrument for providing assistance to the poorest is a programme (PEAD) established in 1987 under the common agricultural policy to distribute food among the EU’s neediest people. In recent years, some 18 million Europeans in 20 Member States have benefited from this programme, which has been backed by over 240 food banks and charities.

On 15 February 2012, Parliament decided, on the basis of my report, to continue with PEAD, which is threatened by a Court of Justice ruling, in the years 2012‐2013 — that is, to the end of the current financial perspective — with an annual budget of EUR 500 million.

Then on 24 October 2012, the Commission presented an outline for a new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived with a budget of EUR 2.5 billion for the seven years of the next financial perspective (2014‐2020). The new fund is to be financed from structural funds allocated to the European Social Fund.

The Commission’s proposal was approved by the Council at the budget summit of 7 and 8 February 2013. However, given Parliament's ongoing failure to approve the multiannual financial framework adopted by the Council at the February summit, there is a serious risk that the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived will not be up and running by 1 January 2014. Furthermore, when the Commission was submitting proposals for transitional rules on the common agricultural policy in 2014, it saw no possibility of maintaining PEAD on the basis of current rules.

If implementation of PEAD were to be interrupted, it could create major social problems in Member States. During a period of crisis, growing unemployment and poverty, this could have serious consequences for millions of Europe’s poorest. It is therefore vital that an appropriate interim solution be found.

In this connection, what steps is the Commission taking or planning to take in order to ensure that EU support for Europe's poorest is not interrupted?

OJ C 40 E, 11/02/2014