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In response to the COVID-19 crisis, there is an urgent need to adapt the European Union's support to the most needy

European Parliament

Disadvantaged people face increased difficulties as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which aggravates their isolation and precarious situation and subjects them to high health risks. At the same time, the partner organisations that assist them are currently facing new financial, logistical and human constraints and have to adapt their modes of action.

This is why the French MEP and Vice-President of the Renew Europe Group Sylvie Brunet welcomes today's adoption by the European Parliament of the revision of the regulation of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

In France, this fund finances one third of the food aid distributed to vulnerable people. Sylvie Brunet reacted to this vote: "Faced with the coronavirus crisis and the constraints it implies, it is more necessary than ever to guarantee the sustainability of food aid and to ensure the health and safety of the beneficiaries as well as the teams of partner associations. We must also increase the financial support that the FEAD provides to them and allow flexible use of this fund, adapted to the situation. The European Union is mobilising to this end, and the measures we have adopted today respond to these needs." The main changes introduced are a step in the right direction: they provide for the payment of expenditure relating to the acquisition of personal protective equipment, the possibility of 100% European co-financing of operations for the duration of the crisis, greater flexibility in terms of deadlines and audit and control. In the interests of accessibility, the European Parliament has extended the Commission's proposal, which provided for the sole use of electronic vouchers. This will allow partner organisations and associations to use and distribute vouchers in paper format as well.

With a probable increase in the number of beneficiaries in the coming months as a result of the crisis, Sylvie Brunet added: "The European Union must increase the proportion of its budget earmarked to support food and material aid operations and the social inclusion of the most deprived. We have high expectations of the new proposal for the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 that the Commission will present. As I have been able to do in the past, I will continue to work, together with my colleagues in the Renaissance delegation, to increase the amounts of European funds earmarked for the fight against material deprivation and for social inclusion measures."