Despite the stiff opposition of some, the European Commission's 2012 proposal is not only close to final adoption but enjoys a substantial budget. Moreover, it is a more effective tool to help the most vulnerable people than the previous EU programme of aid for the most deprived people (MDP) which was limited to food aid.
The new Fund not only gives Member States more flexibility in terms of procuring food to be distributed, so that the money will go further, but also can be used for clothing and other essential goods (such as shoes, soap and shampoo) for distribution to the most vulnerable, such as homeless people. In other words, national authorities and partner organisations can use the Fund in a way best suited to their own situation and traditions. Moreover, national programmes to implement the Fund would have to include active social inclusion measures to help people to get out of poverty.
I now look forward to definitive adoption of the Fund in the coming weeks by Member States in the Council, so that urgent relief can promptly reach those who need it most.