Commission adopts proposal for a revised MDP scheme to include nutrition criteria for foods supplied in the scheme
The European Commission adopted an amended proposal for a revised MDP scheme on September 17 2010. The 2008 proposal was not adopted by the Council, despite the supportive stance of the European Parliament. A blocking minority (Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark and the UK) stalled the adoption of the legislation in 2008.
The current proposal looks toward broader nutritional criteria and fruit and vegetables and cooking oil will be allowed under the scheme for the first time. In specific terms, MS competent authorities in cooperation with local charities and local service providers would be given the flexibility to decide which food to distribute and the choice to primarily source products of EU origin.
EPHAC (the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium of which EPHA is a parnter) has contributing to the process of the revised commission proposal and welcomes that it will include nutritional criteria and fruit and vegetables will be allowed as eligible products, however a system for developing nutritional criteria that takes into account food insecurity and nutritional requirements of vulnerable groups.
The proposal builds on a 2008 proposal allowing the scheme to use market purchases on a permanent basis, to complement available intervention stocks. Member States would choose what food to distribute and food distribution plans would be established for three-year periods. Food would continue to be distributed in cooperation with charities and local social services.
The amended proposal provides stable and more favourable rates of national co-financing (10 and 25%) and puts an annual ceiling of € 500 million on the EU’s contribution. It makes a number of other adjustments to the original 2008 proposal and aligns it with the Lisbon Treaty. The 2008 proposal was not adopted by the Council, despite the supportive stance of the European Parliament
The Belgian presidency outlined their intention to resurrect this dossier as one of their priorities The revised proposal was presented to EU Agriculture Ministers and discussed the Sept 27 Council of Agriculture Ministers. Some MS delegations expressed a reservation on this text, as was the case for the first proposal presented by the Commission in 2008, in relation to the legal basis for this text, which in their view should be drawn from social policy rather than agricultural policy. Other delegations expressed concern about the co-financing of the measure.