EU school schemes under the CAP
The European Commission proposes to bring together two currently separate school schemes, the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme, under a joint framework in order to improve their effectiveness, make them more efficient, streamline administrative requirements and reduce organisational burden.
The European Union currently runs two schemes under the common agricultural policy (CAP) to improve schoolchildren's consumption of selected agricultural products: the School Milk Scheme, which supplies dairy products, and the School Fruit Scheme, which co-funds the distribution of fruit and vegetable produce.
Both schemes aim to sustainably increase the share of fruit and vegetables and milk products in children's diets when their eating habits are being formed. They contribute to the CAP objectives and are in line with the public health objectives of shaping healthy eating habits.
The reasoning which led to the establishment of the two school schemes is still relevant in the current context of declining consumption of fruit and vegetables and milk products, worsened amongst others by the modern consumption trends towards highly processed foods which are often high in added sugars, salt and fat.
Conclusions from different reports and experience after years of implementation, however, pointed to certain weaknesses and inefficiencies in the functioning of current schemes.
The European Commission has therefore, on 30 January 2014 and after an extensive consultation with stakeholders and a public consultation, presented a legislative proposal which aims at bringing together two currently separate school schemes, the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme, under a joint framework in order to
- improve their effectiveness,
- make them more efficient,
- streamline administrative requirements,
- reduce organisational burden.
The legislative proposal is accompanied by an impact assessment that evaluates alternative scenarios for the evolution of the policy on the basis of extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis.
The proposal is under discussion in the Council and the European Parliament. As part of its Work Programme for 2015, the Commission decided on 16 December 2014 to assess the whole scheme for subsidiarity, proportionality and better regulation reasons as part of the CAP simplification. Pending this, the Commission recommended to the co-legislators that the work on the proposal of 2014 should be put on hold.