Amending the FEAD regulation as regards the introduction of specific measures for addressing the COVID-19 crisis

In “Employment and Social Affairs - EMPL”

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For a brief overview of the key points of the adopted text and its significance for the citizen, please see the corresponding summary note.

With the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and its €3.8 billion budget for the period 2014-2020, the European Union supplements its Member States’ own aid regarding the most in need in the EU. Its support is managed by partner organisations selected by the Member States, which bring food support (e.g. distribution of food packages and meals) and material assistance (e.g. clothes) or provide social inclusion activities (e.g. improving access to support and social services).

The COVID-19 crisis engenders specific risks to the most deprived and an unparalleled challenge for the actions supported by FEAD. In order to protect the most vulnerable and the workers and volunteers delivering the aid from falling victim to this disease, exceptional measures need to be taken urgently.

On 2 April 2020, the European Commission proposes to amend Regulation (EU) No 223/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in order to address the difficulties encountered by public authorities and partner organisations in implementing the FEAD during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative complements the first ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative’, a package of measures proposed by the Commission on 13 March 2020 which introduced a number of important changes to provide a more effective response to the current situation.

The specific measures included in the proposal are: 

  • flexibility for Member States to adjust the schemes of support to the current context, including by allowing alternative schemes of delivery through electronic vouchers (lower risk of contamination) and by allowing Member States, and to amend certain elements of the operational programme without requiring an adoption by Commission decision;
  • possibility to provide the necessary protective materials and equipment to partner organisations outside the technical assistance budget;
  • eligibility of expenditure incurred from 1 February 2020 for FEAD operations that strengthen the capacity to respond to the coronavirus pandemic;
  • the possibility to give Member States the exceptional possibility to apply for a co-financing rate of 100% for the accounting year 2020-2021;
  • specific provisions regarding the eligibility of costs incurred by beneficiaries in case the delivery of food/basic material assistance or social assistance is delayed as well as for suspended and not fully implemented operations;
  • flexibility measures which reduce the administrative burden on the authorities in terms of compliance with certain legislative requirements, in particular as regards monitoring and control and audit.

The proposed modifications do not imply any changes in the Multiannual Financial Framework annual ceilings for commitments and payments set out in the FEAD Regulation. The total annual breakdown of commitment appropriations for the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived remains unchanged.

The position of the European Parliament was  adopted at first reading on 17 April 2020.

As part of the Coronavirus Investment Initiative Plus (CRII Plus), the final act amending the FEAD Regulation was adopted by the Council on 22 April 2020 and was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators on 23 April 2020. It was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 24 April 2020 and entered in force on the day following that of its publication.

On 28 May, the Commission proposed further amendments to the FEAD Regulation in view of the growing needs on the ground. These amendments make additional resources for the FEAD available for the 2020-2022 period, as part of the increased resources for cohesion policy under the 2014-2020 EU budget. It also allows Member States to inject further resources into the FEAD.


 Further reading:

Author: Marie Lecerf, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/03/2023.