The European Parliament agriculture committee today approved a compromise solution on a scheme under the CAP, which provides food aid to the most vulnerable persons in the EU. The compromise follows the lines of a Green proposal made last year and would see the scheme continued until 2013 (around €500 million per year). This will ensure food banks across Europe are given sufficient time to prepare for a change in the scheme, rather than the disruption that would be caused by ending it abruptly. In the longer run, the food aid scheme needs to be reformed and given the broader remit of lifting people out of food poverty and, as such, placed under the European Social Fund, rather than the CAP. Commenting on the vote, Green MEP José Bové said:
"The compromise adopted today represents a balanced solution to the uncertainty surrounding the EU food aid scheme for the most vulnerable. Prolonging the scheme until 2013 will ensure the 18 million or so vulnerable people relying on the scheme do not suffer and will allow food banks time to prepare for an eventual change.
"While there are clearly problems with the scheme in its current format, it would be irresponsible to abruptly end the scheme, as the Commission had originally proposed. The Commission must now use the interim phase to develop proposals for a more effective EU scheme to address the needs of the most vulnerable people. Whereas, formerly, agricultural surpluses could be used to provide food used for this scheme, these surpluses have now almost disappeared, and rightly so. Modern anti-poverty measures should be aimed at lifting people out of poverty and therefore reducing dependency on food aid."