"Reaching out to People in Need Across Europe"
The January 23 hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) was linked to the legislative report on the new Fund for European Aid to the most deprived 2014-2020 by MEP Emer Costello (S&D-IE). This scheme would deliver food aid, and provide homeless people and deprived children with consumer goods. The invited experts shared their experiences and their views on the new broadened scope of the Commission proposal.
EP video: Citizens face hunger over budget cut
The Following invited experts made a presentation and took part in the discussions:
Mr Olivier Berthe, Director, Les Restos du Coeur
Mr Fintan Farrel,Director, European Anti-Poverty Network- Mr Balázs Cseh, President, Hungarian Foodbank Association
Ms Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, EUROCHILD- Mr Freek Spinnewijn, Director, European Federation of National Organisations Working with Homeless People
The experts highlighted the following main messages:
The Rapporteur, Emer COSTELLO (S & D, IE), the shadow rapporteur, Csaba ŐRY (EPP, HU), Marian HARKIN (IE, ALDE), Edit BAUER (EPP, SK), Karima DELLI (FR, The Greens), Alejandro CERCAS (ES, S & D), and the Committee President, Pervenche BERÈS (S & D, FR) contributed to the debate.
In light of the interventions, the MEPs from different political parties supported the idea of the Fund with the Committee expressing its openness to using its political weight to influence the Council and the different member states’ position in a positive way.
EPHA’s position on the Fund For European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAMD)
EPHA calls for the proposal to include objectives like improved nutritional profile of foods, action against non-communicable diseases  and health inequalities reduction.
EPHA is also concerned that this scheme could displace other overarching solutions to poverty that address the underlying causes of poverty in a more sustainable fashion, and that the funds earmarked fall short of what is necessary to tackle the urgent current situation.
From a social justice and poverty reduction perspective, the good health of all Europeans - supported by healthy and nutritious diets – will help contribute to Europe’s much needed recovery.
Unlike the previous 100% funded food aid, member states now have to cover 15% of the programme’s costs, which might be problematic for many countries currently facing severe cuts to essential social and public health services. A welcome step towards overcoming this obstacle is a proposal that certain recession-driven EU member states have 100% of their expenses covered.
Although the previous scheme made a difference for millions of children, disadvantaged families, elderly and unemployed people across the EU, emergency food aid is not a sustainable answer to food and nutrition poverty and insecurity.
What we need in the first place is solutions that improve access to healthy foods for Europe’s poor while addressing long-term shortcomings.
Improving this scheme will require building bridges between social, agriculture and health policies.
EPHA believes that the new FEAMD scheme should include agricultural products of proven health benefits, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes – products currently missing from the scheme’s proposal.
EPHA briefing on the earlier Food Aid to Most Deprived Persons (MDP) which is still valid in terms of the changes need to the new fund.
EPHA related articles
 chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), overweight and obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and mental health disorders that pose the greatest threat to health and are a major barrier to sustainable economic and inclusive growth in Europe. Diet, along with physical activity, alcohol and tobacco consumption is one of the leading modifiable risk factors for NCDs