EU ministers to debate food aid programme
Post by Sean Davies
on 14 October 2011 in Food & Drink
EU ministers will meet next week to decide whether to cut a food aid scheme designed to feed Europe's poorest people.
The Food for the Deprived programme, which began in 1987, started by passing surplus food items from European farms on to the poor. In more recent years however, as farming practices have become more efficient, food has been purchased on the market to ensure the scheme has continued.
Around 18 million people benefit from the food programme, but the European Union ministers are considering cutting the available budget by 75 per cent, according to a report by the Associated Press.
One proposal to be discussed during next Thursday's meeting is to use legal changes to keep the scheme going at a cost of €500m, while another would see funding cut to €113m.
EU agriculture commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, said the problem was purely legal, with funds already written into the budget. Speaking last month he said the money was available, and all that was needed was "a political accord" before it could be allocated.