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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Countries cutting off Europe’s poor

Six member States refuse to allow funds from the Common Agricultural Policy to be used as food aid to the poor. On 1 January 2012, the budget for assistance to 18 million Europeans may drop from 480 to 113.5 million euros. It's a possibility that revolts La Libre Belgique.

Their position is as appalling as it is incomprehensible. Unbearable, really. Six member states of the Union – Germany, UK, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden, all rich and mostly eurosceptic – are still blocking, through legal wrangling and fallacious arguments, the providing of some 480 million euros intended to feed the poorest Europeans [the final decision has been deferred to the next meeting of EU ministers in late October].

How to understand that, in the midst of the euro crisis, while poverty is increasing throughout the Old Continent, powerful countries can undermine a policy that has proven itself over a quarter century? European Program of Food Aid to the most Deprived (PEAD) distributes 440,000 tons of food every year in twenty states – with Poland, Italy and France in the lead. It's an opportunity to recall that, contrary to popular belief, Europe is also able to worry about the welfare of its people. […]

The message is disastrous for the image of the European Union and the credibility of its leaders' rhetoric. Solidarity, a principle at the foundation of European construction, must remain one of its most steadfast bases in the face of the every-man-for-himself assaults of the states. Outside these six countries, such a Europe inspires no one.

Source: Presseurop