Fund for European aid to the most deprived:
- extracts from the debate on the report by Emer COSTELLO (S&D, EI)
Première transmission: 11/06/2013
Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
Fin de production: 11/06/2013
MEPs debated on the budget and participation rules for the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. MEPs on the social affairs, budget and agriculture committees all voted to keep the fund at its current level €3.5 billion, to pay for food and clothes to meet the basic needs of Europe's poorest citizens in 2014-2020. The Social Affairs Committee failed by two votes to approve a mandate for negotiations with the Council due to dissent over rules for participation by member states. Most of its members wanted the money to remain available for Europe's neediest even if some member states decided not to use their share. The final size of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived for 2014-2020 will be determined by the outcome of negotiations under way between Parliament and the Council on the EU's long-run budget.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg.
||SOUNDBITE (English) Emer COSTELLO (S&D, EI), Rapporteur: "Ending the food distribution programme next December without a replacement European programme would cause a direct threat to food aid programmes in many member states. The proposal that we are considering here today envisages European support for national schemes that address poverty which exists in all member states. But it would go beyond the food distribution programme by introducing the possibility for the distribution of basic material assistance. This could include for instance 'starter packs' for homeless people moving into a new home or clothing for children. Also it would introduce support for accompanying measures aimed at the social reintegration of end recipients that many of the organisations involved in food aid programmes already provide".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Emer COSTELLO (S&D, EI), Rapporteur: "This will be only EU instrument that specifically targets people who are at the margins of society, including people who are often well beyond the reach of ESF (European Social Fund). In short, the fund for 'European aid to the most deprived' is a sign of European solidarity with those hardest hit by the crisis. I urge members to endorse the report so that we will have a strong mandate to negotiate with Council and Commission and see the programme commence operations as planned from early next year".
||SOUNDBITE (English) László ANDOR, Commissioner: "A group of member states continues to oppose this fund and in particular the fact that it would cover the whole EU. Some argue that the use of the fund should be made voluntary. No country however wants to give up its share if the envelope. Clearly such voluntary use would almost certainly make it impossible for the fund to reach the budget eventually allocated to it. This would be a step back on the EU solidarity, very difficult to communicate to our citizens".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Derek VAUGHAN (ALDE, UK): "The Budget Committee fully supports the creation of this fund, indeed we believe that 'food banks' are one of the few growth industries in many parts of Europe currently. We believe this fund should be 3.5 billion and not 2.5 billion if it's to have a big impact".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Elisabeth MORIN-CHARTIER (EPP, FR): "All of Europe has its eyes on us, citizens are looking to the EP, to our political views, and the values that we share include social solidarity. We fought for financial solidarity, we fought for banking solidarity, we voted along those lines, we voted on economic solidarity. Would we refuse social solidarity for our citizens now? No. That is unacceptable. I would call on my political group to vote in such a way that this fund would work as all other funds work, and not to take into account the 'blocking minority'. What the people behind the blocking minority wish to achieve is to put an end to the fund, to say 'every country deals with their own poor people', and that's not what we want, we want a Europe of solidarity for all".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Pervenche BERÈS (S&D, FR): "The European Council, day after day, is discovering that solidarity and the issue of the most deprived is becoming a political priority and it's not least because of the signal we send out in our vote on Ms Costello's report that we can sure up the importance of this message and the seriousness of the crisis for us".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Marian HARKIN (ALDE, IE): "My group ALDE is fully in support of this fund. However there's a debate on whether it should be mandatory or voluntary. My group is supporting a voluntary option, so member states can access this fund, but crucially asking that this fund would be reinforced. This would mean that those member states who want to use their own system and not the EU programme can continue to do so, while other member states who want to use this fund can use their own allocation and will have the legal base to use some of their cohesion funding for this hugely important fund".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Karima DELLI (Greens-EFA, FR): "If we want to end up with hunger problems in Europe we need social protection networks to fight poverty in the EU. Let me put a question to you Mr Commissioner, when will you come up with a proposal for a directive on minimum income wage for all? The crisis shows us that we urgently need such legislation, it would be a true European symbol we have been waiting for, for years".