The Polish Presidency has played a leading role in trying to break the deadlock on the EU Distribution Scheme of Free Food to the Most Deprived Persons. In appreciation of his decisive role, the public health community would like to thank Mr Sawicki for his commitment.
The European Union Distribution Scheme of Free Food to the Most Deprived Persons has been hotly debated in the Council of the EU for the last months. The debate concerning the continuation of the scheme for the years 2012 and 2013 has been unsolved due to the blocking minority of 6 Member States which were strongly opposed for the scheme to be funded from the Common Agriculture Policy funds.
Under the Polish Presidency of the Council of the EU, the current chairman of the Agriculture Council - the Polish Minister for Agriculture and Development, Marek Sawicki - pushed for the issue to be put high in the agenda and solved by the end of the Presidency period.
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Food poverty affects 43 million EU citizens, and many millions more people (mainly from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our societies) face difficulties in accessing and affording healthy and nutritious diets to lead healthy and productive lives. The current scheme benefs 18 million EU citizens, for whom discontinuation of the scheme in just 2 months time, seems unacceptable and a real threat.
The public health community is pleased that there has been finally a political agreement reached on investing in a programme of great importance especially in times of economic crisis and austerity measures hitting hard the most vulnerable groups in European socieities who have been already dependant on state support or have been seen in more numbers at poverty (including food) risk.
In face of such developments, European Public Health Alliance has decided to send a thank you letter to the Polish Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development to acknowledge his role with such a positive result. In addition, EPHA has indicated working towards improving the scheme for the upcoming period so as to embrace a more healthy and nutiritonal profile of the food distributed in order to reduce and finaly eliminate at-food-poverty risk and health inequities.
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