ETUC had expressed grave concern about the possible discontinuation of the food aid programme for the most deprived, given the particularly difficult economic and social situation. The ETUC General Secretary had at the time sent a letter to the presidents of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union to ask that one of the few programmes that symbolises European solidarity be maintained.
When the Council of Ministers for Agriculture’s decision to extend the programme for two years was announced, Bernadette Ségol declared: “I am delighted that the associations are relieved for the next two years. However, I am deeply concerned that Germany has attached conditions to this two-year extension. More specifically, the German minister for agriculture has demanded that in return for the extension, this European social programme be discontinued as of 1 January 2014. I would like to point out that poverty is on the rise in many European countries and it makes no sense to abandon such a programme at a time when we actually need more solidarity. Furthermore, it would go against the goal fixed in the EU 2020 strategy to reduce the number of poor people in the EU by 20 million by 2020.”