Renew Europe welcomes the Commission’s proposal to amend the Fund for European Aid to the most deprived (FEAD), which the European Parliament will adopt today. The voting will take place via an urgency procedure in order to respond to the challenges faced by public authorities and partner organisations in the implementation of the FEAD during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will ensure the delivery of food and material assistance (including hygiene kits) to vulnerable groups throughout Europe. These changes will allow the organisations delivering food, basic material assistance and social inclusion support to continue doing so safely. Renew Europe played a key role in ensuring that the provision of vouchers or other forms will be possible alongside to electronic means, ensuring safe assistance to beneficiaries of the Fund who are often vulnerable and who do not always have the necessary equipment to use electronic vouchers. The changes will also mean that the operations can be adapted to the crisis and receive 100% co-financing from the Fund.
Dragoș Pîslaru MEP, Renew Europe Coordinator on the Employment and Social Affairs commented ahead of the vote:
“Renew Europe militates for solidarity and the use of existing resources and mechanisms at European level to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The European Union is supporting its citizens during the pandemic. All of its citizens, including the vulnerable and the ones at risk of poverty, or who no longer have the necessary income to buy food and basic materials, due to the loss of their already temporary jobs. We will vote in the European Parliament the amendments proposed by the European Commission to Regulation 223 on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) which bring flexibility to the instrument, additional funding to Member States by applying a 100% co-financing rate for operational programs that respond to the effects of COVID-19 crisis and cuts the red tape. All these measures are part of a timely response to the needs of the most deprived, a response meant to ensure that no one is left behind during this crisis.”
The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) is the instrument that helps those who have fallen into poverty to take their first steps out of poverty and social exclusion. The resources available for the fund for the period 2014–2020 amount to €3.8 billion, which is an expression of EU solidarity with people most in need in the EU. Around 16 million EU citizens benefit from the fund each year, including 4.4 million children under 15 years of age.