On 16 January, the European Parliament adopted its position for negotiating updated rules to tackle high rates of poverty and social exclusion in the EU, by voting in favor of a report prepared by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and leaded by rapporteur MEP Veronica Lope Fontagné.
The European Parliament in plenary session adopted by 543 votes to 81, with 64 abstentions, amendments to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
The report proposes to increase funding for the European Social Fund Plus in the next programming period 2021-2027. This new fund, which will substitute the current European Social Fund (ESF) merging 5 funds could help to create full employment, boost the quality of work, increase productivity, make it easier for people to find work in a different part of the EU, improve education and training as well as promote social inclusion and support material deprivation. Member States should allocate at least 27% of their ESF+ resources under shared management to specific objectives in the field of social inclusion and at least 3% of their resources to the specific objective of supporting the most deprived with food and/or material assistance.
The European Food Banks Federation welcomes the report of the European Parliament because it recognizes the important role played by the current Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD) which effectively supports the Food Banks to pursue the goals they share with civil society organizations to alleviate hunger and provide assistance to the most deprived. The position of the European Parliament reinforces the proposal of the European Commission increasing the budget and highlighting the role of food and material assistance as an effective tool in enabling the most deprived persons to move towards social inclusion.
The plenary session also voted in favour of referring the file back to the EMPL Committee to start inter-institutional negotiations.