EU ministers set to fudge €1 billion food package for poor farmers
Ahead of a crucial meeting this Friday in Brussels to decide the fate of the proposed EU food crisis package, leading anti-poverty campaigners expressed their concern that no new resources will be used to address the situation of rising levels of hunger in the world.
“If genuine new resources are not put on the table on Friday, the EU will be facing a huge credibility problem,” said Alexandre Polack, ActionAid’s Europe Campaigns and Policy Manager.
“On the one hand, EU leaders have committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on halving hunger by 2015. On the other, they are not even prepared to commit €1 billion in new resources to tackle rising levels of chronic hunger in the world. This billion package is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to the €2,000 billion EU leaders committed to bailing out the banks last month,” he added.
On Friday, November 21st, the European Commission, Parliament and Council will meet to make a final decision on the food package while discussing the EU budget. Originally the European Commission proposed to use some unspent money from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fund to urgently address the food crisis. High food prices in Europe have meant fewer subsidies were needed for European farmers.
However, proposals are now cobbling money from a variety of different sources and it is looking likely that much of the money will not be additional to existing aid commitments.
“It is shameful that the EU is still discussing a proposal they made back in June to urgently help farmers in poor countries tackle the food crisis,” said Elise Ford, acting head of Oxfam’s EU office.
“NGOs are very concerned that EU Member States are sending the wrong signal to the developing world by getting creative with their accounting rather than generating new funds,” she added.
“The EU is often portrayed as all red tape and no action. Here is a quick win-win: an opportunity to literally save millions of lives while also demonstrating the benefits of strong, rapid action by the EU,” said Caroline Kroeker-Falconi, acting director of World Vision’s EU Liaison office.
The food crisis continues to pull more and more people into poverty and hunger. People in poor countries spend 80% of their income on food. Since food prices started to rise, the number of people going hungry has risen to nearly one billion, almost one sixth of the world’s population.
According to a World Bank report, the number of people going hungry has risen to nearly one billion since the food crisis started.