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European Food Aid Programme for the Most Deprived

Published on November 21, 2011
Reply by Bruno Le Maire, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Town and Country Planning (Regional Development), to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, November 15, 2011

I’m happy to confirm to you that, after six months of difficult negotiations, the Prime Minister, President Sarkozy, the Minister responsible for European Affairs and I have secured the maintenance of emergency food aid to the most deprived for 2012 and 2013.

Voluntary organizations therefore need worry no longer: they will have European funding, which should be guaranteed to them for 2012 and 2013. All those suffering hunger in France and the other European countries know they’ll now have the European financial support they’ve been counting on from the outset.

I’d like to pay special tribute to all the charities – particularly the Restaurants du Coeur and Secours populaire – which were galvanized from the outset to maintain this aid. They went to Berlin with me to argue their case to the German voluntary organizations and the German government. Not only are they doing remarkable work on the ground to help the poorest in our society, but they’ve also been able to mobilize to alert the European public to the need to maintain this aid.

In addition to this work, I’d like to draw two lessons from the negotiation on food aid to the most deprived.

First lesson: when we’re hand in hand with our German friends, we manage to reach compromises enabling the necessary European aid to be maintained. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clear-sightedness of our German friends, who agreed to continue paying €200 million for a programme for which, at national level, they don’t receive a single euro in return.

Second lesson: we want a social Europe. This majority, the Prime Minister, President Sarkozy and I are fighting specifically for a social Europe, and we’ve secured the maintenance of aid for the most deprived.

We’re fighting for fairer, more social globalization by ensuring recognition of fundamental labour rights, as Xavier Bertrand secured at the G20 in the Cannes summit conclusions. Social causes are a hallmark of this majority, and we’ll continue to uphold them./.

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