Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 335

Food aid and basic assistance for people in need: EP adopts special measures

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 20 aprile 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is hitting the homeless and people living in poverty hardest. It is therefore crucial for MEPs that food aid and other operations supported by the EU’s Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) continues to reach those who need it. Specific measures need to be taken urgently to protect the most vulnerable from falling victim to this virus and to ensure that food aid and basic material assistance still reaches them, while respecting social distancing and personal protection requirements.
In light of this emergency, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) quickly reacted by requesting that special measures be adopted through urgent procedure to guarantee the continued functioning of FEAD, which provides around 13 million people in the EU per year with food aid and basic material assistance.The European Parliament on Friday approved the changes to FEAD proposed by the Commission, which offer the option to finance the provision of protective equipment, temporary 100% co-financing from the EU budget for the accounting year 2020-2021 and lighter reporting and audit measures during the COVID-19-pandemic.MEPs also adopted a new provision that was added upon EMPL’s initiative and negotiated with the Council. It stipulates that food aid and basic material assistance can be delivered through vouchers in any form (not only electronic, as proposed by the Commission), to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the operations and to reach the most vulnerable and excluded, in particular homeless people.Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, commented after the vote:
“Our work was focused on the urgent need to protect those who are homeless and the most vulnerable citizens, for whom access to food aid and other assistance is of even greater importance during this coronavirus crisis.With the support of all political groups, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee proposed two additional modifications to the Commission proposal, accepted by the Council. We have added paper vouchers, to complement electronic ones, to ensure that FEAD aid is as inclusive as possible and can effectively reach the most deprived without interruption. The measures adopted today will make a real difference on the ground for the thousands of people who live in very precarious situations throughout the EU and who face extreme poverty.I wish to warmly thank and congratulate the political groups, the Council and the Commission for the excellent cooperation on these measures under severe time constraints.”The amended proposal was adopted with 686 votes in favour, 7 against and 3 abstentions.The Council has to formally approve Parliament’s position. The adopted measures will enter into force once published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the coming days.

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