The European Commission has approved today the French Operational Programme to use the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). France, the first Member State to have its FEAD programme adopted, will receive 499 million euros in current prices in the period 2014-2020 to support the provision of food aid to those most in need in the country (complemented with €88 million from national resources).
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, commented: "I welcome the swift adoption of the French operational programme. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived will play a key role to help Europe's most vulnerable citizens with food or other basic goods. In many Member States severe material deprivation is on the rise and many households cannot afford a meal.I am looking forward to approving the programmes of all the other Member States, so that the rest of the 3.8 billion euros available can be put to the best use in our fight against poverty".
In France, the FEAD will be used similarly to the previous Food Distribution Programme for the Most Deprived People (MDP), and the annual amount of funding will be slightly higher (up to €79 million in 2014 compared to €71.3 in 2013). Partner organisations will continue to play a key role in the provision of assistance, and from now on they will be required to offer the beneficiaries accompanying measures such as guidance and support to help the most deprived to get out of poverty.
To avoid disruption in the help offered during the transition from the previous food distribution programme to the new FEAD, the French authorities already used national funds to distribute food. This expenditure can be retroactively reimbursed by FEAD. For example, cartons of milk were distributed last spring. Now that the Operational Programme is adopted, France will receive an advance payment of 11% of the total allocation. This amount will cover past expenditure and provide the necessary funding to prepare next winter's aid campaign.
Launched in January 2014, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) is a potent symbol of European solidarity. Its main aim is to break the vicious circle of poverty and deprivation, by providing non-financial assistance to some of the EU’s most vulnerable citizens. The FEAD is worth €3.8 billion in real terms in the 2014 to 2020 period.
The Fund will help to strengthen social cohesion by alleviating the worst forms of poverty. It will also contribute to meeting the EUROPE 2020 target of reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020.
The FEAD will support all 28 Member States' actions to provide a broad range of non-financial assistance to most deprived people – be they individuals, families, households or groups of such persons. This assistance can include food, clothing and other essential goods for personal use such as shoes, soap and shampoo. It can also be used for actions that encourage social integration.
Each Member State will define the target group of ‘most deprived persons’ in its national operational programme. Member States can then choose which type of assistance they wish to provide (food or basic goods or a combination of both), and their preferred model for procuring and distributing the food and goods, according to their own situation and preferences
The EU's Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived People(MDP) was from 1987 an important source of provisions for organisations working in direct contact with the least fortunate people providing them with food. It was created to make good use of the then agricultural surpluses. With the expected depletion of intervention stocks and their high unpredictability over the period 2011-2020, as a consequence of successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, the MDP was discontinued at the end of 2013, being since then replaced by the FEAD.
Member States have until 12 September 2014 to submit their FEAD Operational Programmes to the Commission.