On 24 October 2012, the European Commission (EC) announced a proposal to set up a new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) to support national schemes providing food, clothing and other essential goods to the most-deprived, the homeless and materially-deprived children. The Europe 2020 strategy has placed fight against poverty and social exclusionas one of the core issues, committing itself to achieve the target of reducing the number of people in this situation by at least 20 million. In the last two years, far from improving, the number of people at poverty risk in Europe has increased due to the financial crisis.
FEAD would replace the Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived People (MDP) created in 1987 to make good use of surplus stocks of farm produce. This programme will be closed by the end of 2013 due to the depletion of agricultural intervention stocks, the rising prices of commodities in international markets, the judgement of the General Court in 2011 against the use of EU funds to purchase food, and successive reforms of the PAC as MDP is under the European Agriculture Fund (EAGF). Also by helping deprived people to integrate into society, this proposal intends to complement the objectives of the European Social Fund (ESF).
The EC foresaw a budget of 2.5€ billion for the Fund during the period 2014-2020, as included in its June 2011 proposal for a Multiannual Financial Framework, for a successor instrument to the MDP. Member states will co-finance 15% of the costs of their national operational programmes, and 85% will come from the FEAD. Implementation would be managed by Member states themselves, usually through partner organisations active in social integration activities as they are the best placed to target assistance to specific needs. Some of the non-governmental organisations are warning that this new program will have less funds allocated than the MDP for a growing population to be helped.
The legislative proposal has been delivered to the European Parliament and the European Union’s Council of Ministers for approval.
The Library produced a Library Keysource on Europe 2020: Platform against poverty in February 2011, a Library Briefing on Poverty and social exclusion of disabled people in July, 2011 and a Library summary on European Platform against Poverty: substantial changes or merely a political commitment? in January 2011.
Poverty and inequality in the EU / European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Explainer #1, 2009, 20 p. This brochure focuses on current perspectives on the nature and extent of poverty, its causes and its links to inequality, explaining how poverty is understood and measured currently in the EU, and highlights some of the shortcomings of these approaches.
Child poverty and well-being in the EU: current status and way forward / European Commission. Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affaires, 2008, 246 p. “This report identifies the predominant factors affecting child poverty in each country. It also reviews the national monitoring and evaluation systems in place and draws 15 recommendations to better assess and monitor child poverty and the multiple dimensions of child well-being across the EU.”
Poverty and deprivation in Europe / Brian Nolan and Christopher T. Whelan. Oxford University Press, 2011, xii, 275 p. This text combines a focus on multidimensionality with a comparative approach to survey the role of non-monetary indicators of deprivation. It shows how poverty varies across countries and over time, who is affected, and which groups should be targeted in framing anti-poverty strategies.
Child poverty-family poverty: are they one and the same?: a rights-based approach to fighting child poverty / Eurochild, 2011, 10 p. This paper states that child poverty cannot be reduced by tackling family poverty alone, but also through access to adequate resources, access to quality services and opportunities and children’s participation. It includes some key recommendations.
Varieties of poverty reduction: inserting the poverty and social exclusion target into Europe 2020 / Paul Copeland and Mary Daly. In: Journal of European Social Policy, 2012, n°3, p. 273-287. This article analyses the nature and significance of the recent EU poverty and social exclusion target, which has become part of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. It situates this analysis in the politics of social policy, at both transnational and national levels.
Multidimensional poverty measurement in Europe: an application of the adjusted headcount approach / Christopher T. Whelan et al., UCD Geary Institute, WP2012/11, 2012, 38 p. The authors highlight the fact that to base the measure of poverty and social exclusion only on income data is too limited and they apply for a multilevel analysis of multi-dimensional poverty to European countries.
Conceptualisations of poverty / Lars Engberg-Pedersen and Helle Munk Ravnborg, DIIS Report n°1, 2010, 26 p. This report highlights the idea that all poverty reduction initiatives should be comprehensive, relational and global in their approach. It gives a look on the increased relation between inequality and poverty and on current social, political and economic changes that affects poverty and the efforts to fight against it.
More relatively-poor people in a less absolutely-poor world / Shaohua Chen, Martin Ravallion, The World Bank Development research Group, 2012, 42 p. This paper shows how while the number of world absolutely poor (less 1.25$ per day) has fallen, the number of relatively poor population has changed little since the 1990s and is even higher in 2008 than at the beginning of the 80s.
EP resolution on the face of female poverty in the European Union , P7_TA(2011)0086, 8 March 2011
Declaration of the European Parliament on an EU homelessness strategy , P7_TA(2010)0499, 16 December 2010
Declaration of the European Parliament on ending street homelessness , P6_TA(2008)0163, 22 April 2008
Council of the European Union
Tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being: Council conclusions / The Council General Secretariat, 11844/11, 20 June 2011
Implementation, results and overall assessment of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. COM(2012) 107 final, 15 March 2012
Committee of the Regions
Opinion on ‘Child poverty’ / Committee of the Regions (C113, 18/04/2012, p.34-39)
Opinion on ‘The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion’ / Committee of the Regions (C166, 7/06/2011, p.18-22)
Own-initiative pinion on ‘Combating homelessness’ / Committee of the Regions (C15, 18/01/2011, p.41-45)
European Economic and Social Committee
Opinion on ‘The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: a European framework for social and territorial cohesion’ / European Economic and Social Committee (C248, 25/08/2011, p.130-134)
Eurodiaconia, Caritas Europa, Red Cross/EU Office, the European Anti-poverty Network (EAPN), the European Federation of Food Banks and European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA): Joint call to EU Member States show commitment to the Europe 2020 Strategy and fully support and adopt the European Commission proposal of a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, 25 October 2012
FEANTSA call on EU to fund “Home Starter Packs” for homeless people in the framework of a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, 26 October 2012
European Federation of Food Banks: point out the fact that in FEAD food aid is put at the same level as other consumer goods.
European Federation of Food Banks: call to save the European Program of Food Aid for the most Deprived persons (PEAD), 26 October 2012
EAPN’s key message to 2012 Annual Convention on Poverty (Brussels, 5-7 December 2012): EU is failing to establish a coherent anti-poverty strategy.
Eurodiaconia: Homelessness and housing exclusion position paper, September 2010.
Position paper of EAPN Spain on the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived: overall situation of poverty in Spain put in relation with the Commission’s announcement on the FEAD (only Spanish version)
Report on cities’ statregies against homelessness: the integrated chain approach / EUROCITIES, December 2012, 42 p. This paper presents reports from nine European cities on their homelessness policies. It includes an overview of the current situation (2011-2012) and the challenges cities are facing.
The indicator Eurostat uses to measure income poverty is the “at risk of poverty rate”. This represents the share of people with an income below 60 % of the national “equivalised median income”.
Risk of poverty or social inclusion in the EU27, 2011 / Eurostat, Newsrelease 171, 2012.
Euro area unemployment rate at 11.7% / Eurostat, Newsrelease 170, 2012.
Risk of poverty or social inclusion in the EU27, 2010 / Eurostat, Statistics in focus “Population and social conditions” 9/2012.
Eurostat maps on: Population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 2010; Severe material deprivation rate, 2010; Population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 2010: distance to national 2020 target
EU programmes and projects
Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived Persons of the Community (MDP), established on 1987 to handle intervention stocks to the Member States willing to distribute them among the poorest population of the Community. The phasing-out period will be reached at the end of 2013. The budget allocated for this programme increased from around 100 million € in 1987 up to 500 million € limit per year from 2009 onwards. Member states participate on a volunteer basis and have a lot of flexibility on the way they implement their national schemes.
Commission regulation n°807/2010 laying down detailed rules for the supply of food intervention stocks for the benefit of the most deprived persons in the Union
Regulation n°121/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council amendment, amending Council Regulations N°1290/2005 and N°1234/2007.
European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, which was launched in 2010, is part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, aiming to coordinate actions and rules at EU level.
The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: a European framework for social and territorial cohesion, COM(2010) 758 final, 16 December 2010
The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: A European framework for social and territorial cohesion COM(2010) 758 final: Commission Staff Working Paper: List of key initiatives: SEC(2010) 1564 , 16 December 2010
Second Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: Conclusions and results, December 2012, Brussels
First Annual Convention of the European Platform against poverty and Social Exclusion : final report, October 2011, Krakow