The European Council has today adopted a regulation on the Fund for the most deprived with a view to helping EU’s poorest citizens. The budget for the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) is €3.5 billion for the period between 2014-2020.

The Fund will promote social cohesion by contributing towards achieving the EU2020 poverty reduction headline target. More specifically, it will try to alleviate the worst forms of poverty by providing non-financial assistance to the most deprived EU citizens.

As EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor had previously stated: “This Fund will give Member States valuable support in their efforts to help Europe’s most vulnerable people, and demonstrates the EU’s solidarity with the weakest – those who have been worst affected by the economic and social crisis. The Fund also provides a contribution to meeting the Europe 2020 target of reducing the number of people in poverty or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million… The new Fund not only gives Member States more flexibility in terms of procuring food to be distributed, so that the money will go further, but also can be used for clothing and other essential goods (such as shoes, soap and shampoo) for distribution to the most vulnerable, such as homeless people.”

The FEAD is intended to replace the current EU Food Distribution Programme which has been running since 1987. It will also have a broader material scope and social inclusion activities since it will include two programmes for food distribution aid and basic material assistance (e.g. clothing and school materials) and also to finance social inclusion measures for the EU’s poorest.

Also, the fund will support food donations and in particular the collection, transportation and distribution of food, thus helping to reduce food waste.

Finally, Member states can choose whether to distribute food and/or other material assistance to the most deprived persons, or to address them by other means such as social inclusion activities.