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The Europe that is hungry

· Forty-three million people at risk of food poverty ·

The European Union spending cuts have heavily hit its weakest citizens. Funds for food aid which distribute free food to the poor have been cut by more than three-quarters, 77%. For years, the program of European solidarity has sustained the most vulnerable and families that live in conditions of economic difficulty. And they are not a few: data from the European Commission reveals that there are 43 million people at risk for food poverty, that is, citizens who are not able to have one decent meal every two days. Food aid funds will decline for 2012 to just 113,48 million euro, compared to the almost 500 million of the past few years. In 2009, the most difficult year of the economic crisis, those funds allowed the distribution of over 440,000 tons of free food to 18 million people in Europe.

Officially, the cuts in European contributions is a consequence of a sentence of the Euroepan Court of Justice in which it is affirmed that, on the basis of current regulations, food destined for the poor must come from available EU public stocks. But European granary, and powdered milk depositories are almost empty and based on already existing stocks, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, managed to provide only 113 million for the 2012 program. Ciolos however gave the assurance that there still exists, “our political commitment in favor of a program whose importance is recognized by numerous charity organizations and NGOs in all of Europe. We must find a way to continue to achieve it.” To modify the existing regulations, the Commission has for the last two years presented a new proposal to the Ministry of Agriculture which has the political support of the European Parliament. The text, however, continues to be rejected by countries that are intransigent on the balance sheet.

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