February 1st, 2013
Dear Prime Minister,
The European Council will meet in Brussels on February 7th and 8th to decide on the content and the envelope of the multiannual financial plan for the years 2014-2020. In this context, you, Mr. Prime Minister, will have to decide to what extent you want the European Union to show the solidarity that until now has been the foundation on which Europe was built.
The present economic and social crisis has worsened the situation of poverty and therefore increased the requests for aid, in particular food aid. This is an unfortunate reality across all the regions and the countries in the European Union, with dramatic consequences for many deprived persons, especially the oldest ones.
Thus, the pursuit of a European action in this area is an urgent obligation of solidarity and a common answer to a common problem. Not taking this into account would increase the often widespread feeling that sometimes the European Institutions take decisions in a most remote way, not concerned by the real needs of the persons.
The European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) represents 247 Food Banks in 21 Member States, which contribute to feed more than 5 million European citizens. We have a close knowledge of the situations of deprivation of many European families, and we pursue the objective of preventing any social instability that could result from a worsening of the situation. So, we would particularly like to draw your attention on the need to maintain not only the existence of the European Fund of Aid for the most Deprived, which includes a support for the social inclusion of those most affected by poverty, but also to provide adequate financial means.
While in 2013 the amount awarded to the 18 participating member states is 500 million euros (3500 million for 7 years) to face a demand that has already reached an amount of 680 million euros, the envelope now proposed by the European Commission is limited to 2500 million euros for the next 7 years, a drastic 30% reduction.
Mr. Prime Minister, FEBA is hoping to count on you to support this program with an appropriate financial aid, confirming that the European Union remains faithful to its founding ideal of solidarity and is taking action to preserve its cohesion, thus strengthening the occasionally shaken citizens confidence in the European Union.
Maria Isabel Jonet