Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)

Hands of two persons in a charity canteen: one is holding a Tupperware while the other is filling it with food

© Shutterstock / addkm

The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) supports EU countries' actions to provide food and/or basic material assistance to the most deprived.

This includes food, clothing and other essential items for personal use, e.g. shoes, soap and shampoo.

Material assistance needs to go hand in hand with social inclusion measures, such as guidance and support to help people out of poverty.

National authorities may also support non-material assistance to the most deprived people, to help them integrate better into society.

FEAD support will help people take their first steps out of poverty and social exclusion.

FEAD will help the most deprived people by addressing their most basic needs, which is a precondition for them to be able to get a job or follow a training course such as those supported by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Graphic overview of the FEAD programme and its key facts and figures

Addressing the social impact of the coronavirus crisis

In May 2020, the Commission proposed further amendments to the Common Provisions Regulation and the FEAD Regulation, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and growing needs. These amendments make available for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 additional resources for the FEAD, as part of the increased resources to cohesion policy under the EU budget 2014-2020.

In April 2020, the Commission had already taken the initiative to amend the FEAD as part of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) package. This package introduced more flexibility and liquidity for Member States.

How does the FEAD work?

The Commission approves the national programmes for 2014-2020, on the basis of which national authorities take the individual decisions leading to the delivery of the assistance through partner organisations (often non-governmental). A similar approach is already used for cohesion funds.

EU countries may choose what type of assistance (food or basic material assistance, or a combination of both) they wish to provide, depending on their own situation, and how the items are to be obtained and distributed.

National authorities can either purchase the food and goods themselves and supply them to partner organisations, or fund the organisations so that they can make the purchases themselves. Partner organisations which buy the food or goods themselves can either distribute them directly, or ask other partner organisations to help.

The partner organisations are public bodies or non-governmental organisations which are selected by national authorities on the basis of objective and transparent criteria defined at national level.

A summary of the implementation at national level can be found in the FEAD country fiches

How much money is available?

In real terms, over €3.8 billion are earmarked for the FEAD for the 2014-2020 period.

In addition, EU countries are to contribute at least 15% in national co-financing to their national programme.

What is the legal basis?

The FEAD Regulation was adopted in 2014. It was amended in 2018 with several simplifications – a consolidated version is available online. All implementing and delegated acts have been adopted by end of 2016.

In April 2020, new amendments entered into force, introducing specific measures for addressing the COVID-19 crisis.

In February 2021, the FEAD Regulation was amended to ensure that the Fund can be reinforced with financial transfers from REACT-EU in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

FEAD Community

The FEAD Community is an open membership network for people providing assistance to the most deprived in Europe, established in 2016. This includes:

  • national FEAD Managing Authorities,
  • organisations delivering or interested in FEAD-funded activities,
  • EU level NGOs and
  • EU institutions.

It is a space to share good practice and encourage new ideas.

Find out more about the community and its activities.

FEAD monitoring and evaluation

The Commission and Member States share the responsibility to evaluate the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. Managing Authorities perform evaluations at the Member State level, while the Commission does so at the EU level.

The evaluations rely on consistent, comparable and good quality data collected by the national authorities. The data are also used to monitor if the programmes are on track as planned. The Commission’s guidance on monitoring and evaluation supports the Managing Authorities in their tasks.  

The Commission reports EU level achievements to the European Parliament and Council in annual summary reports:

FEAD case studies

These catalogues provide a snapshot of FEAD-funded initiatives across the EU but also highlight how they can potentially complement other EU-funded programmes such as the European Social Fund:

Share this page