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18 million need more than words on food poverty


29 Mar 2012


Agriculture & Food
Global Europe

"The Commission says it is going to fight for the food aid programme and will produce a legislative proposal on how to implement it - we need to assume our joint responsibility to ensure that this is achieved," said GUE/NGL Chair Gabi Zimmer responding to Commissioner Rehn's statement on the food for the needy programme in the European Parliament this morning.

Ms Zimmer emphasised the need to show people that the EU is showing solidarity to the 18 million people dependent on food aid, especially those Greek, Spanish and Portuguese workers who are the first victims of the crisis. "We need to send out a signal, but we also need to do more. We must not only act to ensure that these 18 million people get food but also to ensure that the fight against poverty is kept at the top of the agenda. This is a decisive issue."

"We are pushing for a social union that shows solidarity. As MEPs we have an obligation to ensure that those governments who are blocking this programme unblock it."

Patrick Le Hyaric for his part regretted that the Commission has put forward nothing specific and was going to draw on the European Social Fund without increasing it. He said this would amount to a reduction of 100 million Euros per year for the programme.

"The Commission and Parliament should work together with social organisations in Europe to look at the real needs, the real costs so that the programme can be effective."

Portuguese MEP Inês Zuber reminded the house that in 2010, about 23.4% of the population was at risk of poverty. According to Eurostat, the risk is closely linked to situations of low-paid employment, low qualifications, casual work and part-time work, she said. "The so-called fiscal consolidation measures endorsed by this House certainly exacerbate this situation further."

"Food aid ensures a modicum of dignity in many people's lives, and guarantees their right not to live in food poverty."

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20   

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group 


SAFE - Safe Food Advocacy Europe
EU Project Manager
NATO Parliamentary Assembly
NATO PA Researchers
European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators
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Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations
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International Dairy Federation
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United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC)
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