Brussels, 24 October 2012 – The European Commission today proposed to set up a new Fund to help the most deprived persons in the EU.
The Fund would support Member State schemes providing food to the most deprived people and clothing and other essential goods (such as shoes, clothes and soap) to the homeless and materially-deprived children. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the European Union’s Council of Ministers for approval.
The Commission foresaw a budget of €2.5 billion for the Fund during the period 2014-2020. Member States would be responsible for paying 15% of the costs of their national programmes, with the remaining 85% coming from the Fund.
Under the proposed Fund, the implementation on the ground would be managed by Member States, usually through non-governmental organisations active in this field. The Commission would approve programmes prepared by Member States in line with their national situations and preferences. Partner organisations would then be responsible for delivering the food to the most deprived persons and clothing and other essential goods to the homeless and to materially-deprived children.
At the press conference today, László Andor, European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, described the proposal as “an important step forward in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in the EU” and urged the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers “to approve the proposed Fund, and the all-important budget to implement it, as soon as possible”.
The Europe 2020 Strategy commits the EU to reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty by at least 20 million. But the current economic and social crisis has taken a terrible toll on the most vulnerable people in European society. As a result, the situation is getting worse, not better.
There are currently 40 million people in Europe suffering from food deprivation and at least 4 million homeless. There are also 25.4 million children in or at risk of poverty in the EU. For example 5.7 million children can only afford second-hand clothes.
The proposed new Fund would provide tangible help to Europe’s most vulnerable people to overcome the problems they face in their daily lives and to integrate into society. Furthermore, it would also ensure continuity to follow-up the current Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived People (MDP) after more than 20 years of existence.
By helping deprived people to integrate into society, the proposal fully complements the European Social Fund (ESF), for example, helps people improve their skills and training in order to get back into employment.
• Frequently asked questions – Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived
• Poverty and Social Exclusion
• Video: Commission proposes a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived