Lithuania secured that support to the most deprived runs uninterrupted from beginning 2014

12 December 2013, Last updated at, 10:55 EET
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The Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) endorsed the agreement reached by the Lithuanian Presidency and the European Parliament in informal trilogue negotiations on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).  In the period of 7 years (2014-2020) almost 3,5 billion euros will be distributed through the Fund.

The aim of the Lithuanian Presidency was to reach agreement on this dossier until the end of its term, so that support to the most deprived could be delivered without delays.

“We all were strongly committed that the Fund is operational in due time, so that the continuity of support to the most vulnerable people of our societies is ensured. The partner organizations - NGOs and charity organisations providing the assistance are expecting a timely implementation of this Regulation. To that end we negotiated that costs of the implementation could be covered by the Fund starting from 1 December 2013 already, before the formal adoption of the Regulation.  When the Food distribution program for the most deprived expires by the end of this year, the support should by now means be interrupted,” said the Minister of Social security and Labor of Lithuania Algimanta Pabedinskienė.

The Fund will promote social cohesion and enhance social inclusion in the Union and contribute to achieving the specific objective of alleviating the worst forms of poverty, by providing non-financial assistance to the most deprived persons: food and/or basic material assistance and social inclusion activities aiming at the social integration of the most deprived persons.  The Fund will complement national social inclusion policies, which remain the responsibility of Member States.

According to the final agreed compromise, the Fund is applicable to all Member States, the scope of the Fund is broadened so that the Member States which so wish can use (all or part of) their allocation under the Fund for social inclusion activities. Its up to each Member State to define the most deprived persons. Taking into account the diversity of social systems within the EU, the scope of the Regulation was broadened to finance not only food and basic goods but also social inclusion activities.

The allocation of the appropriations of the Fund between the Member States for the period 2014-2020 takes into account the following indicators, assessed on the basis of data from Eurostat: (a) the population suffering from severe material deprivation and (b) the population living in households with very low work intensity. 

Severe food deprivation in the Union coincides with significant food wastage. In this respect, the Fund will facilitate food donations by covering collection, transportation and storage costs of excessive food to be donated to the most deprived people.

Implementation of the Fund activities will rely on the partnership principle, with broad consultation with regional and local authorities and bodies representing civil society and promotion of their participation.
Some limited funds available for the Commission will be used to facilitate the exchange of best practices, capacity building and networking of partner organisations and the Member States.
After today’s endorsement of the informally agreed  text by the co-legislators the Chair of the Committee signed a letter be sent by to the Chair of EMPL Committee of the European Parliament proposing that an agreement in first reading could be reached, subject to Parliament agreeing to adopt an identical text at its plenary session. The vote in the EMPL Committee is scheduled on 17 December.

The informal trilogue negotiations between the Lithuanian Presidency and the European Parliament, seeking to reach a first reading agreement, started on 16 October. It took the co-legislators four trilogues to come to an agreement on 28 November. 

In 2011, nearly one quarter of Europeans (119,82 million) were at risk-of-poverty or social exclusion, approximately 4 million people more than in the previous year. The number of persons suffering from material deprivation, in the Union is increasing and in 2011 nearly 8,8 % of Union citizens lived in conditions of severe material deprivation.

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