Ref. :  000030293
Date :  2008-09-09
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

Can EU funds be put to use to help food crisis?


A plan to boost food production in developing countries and provide urgent food aid will be discussed by the Development Committee Wednesday. The aim is to use surplus money from the EU’s agriculture budget to help the poor. Joining the debate are key figures from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme. Parliament's rapporteur is Irish MEP Gay Mitchell of the centre right EPP-ED bloc. Ahead of the debate we asked him to talk us through the issues.

Last year the world food index rose by 40%, putting intolerable strain on the world's poorest people. With billions dependent on staples such as rice and maize, prices rises have caused hunger, food riots and endangered gains made by aid programmes. Mr Mitchell, you support the proposal to use funds that were budgeted for the EU’s agricultural policies to help developing countries through the food crisis. Why is there a need for this money and how should it be used?

Mr Mitchell: First of all, this money is available in the EU budget for subsidies if prices for agricultural products are falling. But food prices haven’t fallen, so this money isn’t going to be spent and normally would go back to EU members.

There is a huge problem in the developing world; there have been food riots. Some countries that have been net exporters of rice are now importing, they had to drop tariffs to bring in those food products, which means that they are now losing money.

The food price index rose by more than 40% last year, we can all see that in our supermarkets - imagine what it means for people in the developing world who are already suffering from malnutrition! It has been estimated that to deal with the problem in the medium term it would probably require an extra €18 billion.

What the EU said is that we will try to find €1.8 billion over the next 2 or 3 years - this billion from unspent agricultural money should be matched by money from the Member States.

Some of it will be used to get food to people, because the stocks of grain for example have dwindled to the lowest in living memory. But most of it will be used for things like seeds and fertiliser and irrigation; to actually help these countries to develop and to grow their own food.

How can the EU ensure that this money will actually reach those in need?

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, the European Union and various international parties are already identifying the poorest countries with the greatest needs. We need to do this very quickly otherwise it's not going to reach those people. We have a harvest coming up and next March is an important deadline. If we vote this money through Parliament now, we would be able to commit to spend €750 million this year, in time for the harvest next year.

How will the use of the funds be monitored?

I say in my report that we want to have full transparency and accountability and independent evaluation of how this money is spent. We will insist on regular reports and while Parliament does not want to be involved in micro-management, we do want to be involved in a way where we are given the papers before decisions are made and there is accountability to the Parliament.

Europeans are affected by rising food prices as well… why not help poor families here?

First of all, there are people dying in developing countries - it is matter of life and death, literally. Secondly, we are really falling back on the Millennium Development goal to end hunger and malnutrition. We seem to have taken our eyes off malnutrition.

Thirdly, if we can get the developing world's to start growing more food, it will take pressure of the international situation that would in turn assist us. So there are selfless and selfish reasons for doing this.

Some would say that this is money budgeted for European agriculture and that it sets a dangerous precedent to shift it around for other purposes. How would you respond?

Well there is a precedent for the funding of Galileo. So people get concerned that we will keep getting proposals of that kind. The Budgets Committee believes that the correct way would be to first transfer the funds to the budget heading for development aid. Others say it should be given back to Member States. These are valid points. I will be meeting with government ministers this month to talk about the concerns.

However, the reality is that we need to act quickly. Food riots are not something that one can ignore. The EU has to show that we are capable of reacting to events in the world. We have the help these people, they are in a very difficult situation.



Gay Mitchell, Josep Borrell (Chair of the Development Committee) and Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme will hold a press conference after the meeting at 1030-1100 CET. This will be shown on the EBS network at 1400 Wednesday.


- Further information :

- Food crisis - how do we feed the world now and in 2050?
- Millenium Develpment goals
- Programme of the special meeting
- Draft Mitchell report
- MEPs profile
- EBS


Rate this content
 
 
 
Average of 77 ratings 
Rating 2.31 / 4 MoyenMoyenMoyenMoyen
Same author:
 flecheEuropean Parliament resolution of 17 May 2017 on the situation in Hungary
 flecheConflict minerals: the bloody truth behind your smartphone
 flecheGender balance: five areas for improvement
 flecheRobots and artificial intelligence: MEPs call for EU-wide liability rules
 flecheTerrorism: members to vote on new measures against foreign fighters
 flecheVAT reform: how MEPs intend to tackle the €50 billion a year fraud
 flecheAfter CETA: the EU trade agreements that are in the pipeline
 flecheRussia is no longer a strategic partner of the EU, say MEPs
 flecheParliament urges EU member states to gear up for new security challenges now
 flecheAn ocean of plastic to eradicate
 flecheEP this week: €315 billion investment plan, robots and consumer safety
 flecheArmenian genocide centenary: MEPs urge Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations
 flecheAlbania and Bosnia & Herzegovina: political commitment is key to path towards EU
 flecheEU counter-terrorism coordinator: “Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation”
 flecheInter-religious dialogue: the way to defeat extremism
 flechePassenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say
 flecheEuropean Parliament backs EU-Moldova association deal
 flecheEnvironment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops
 flecheAnother record-breaking year for Erasmus
 flecheThe EU's energy dependence: facts and figures
 flecheMEPs urge EU to help 5.3 million young people find decent jobs
 flecheEuropean Parliament gives go-ahead for Lithuania to join the euro
 flecheMartin Schulz re-elected President of the European Parliament
 flecheParliament starts its new term with seven political groups
 flecheElection of new EP President, 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors
 flecheConference of Presidents: the backbone of the European Parliament
 flecheData Protection: The dangers of the web
 flecheLithuania: how the euro could be gaining currency
 flecheEP committees: at the heart of European politics
 flecheResults of the 2014 European elections
 flecheForsmark: how Sweden alerted the world about the danger of the Chernobyl disaster
 fleche2014 European elections: latest projections of seats in the Parliament
 flecheOverview of Parliament and the 2014 elections
 flecheNet neutrality: Industry MEPs want stricter rules against blocking rival services
 flecheParliament maintains €3.5 billion in aid for the most deprived from 2014 to 2020
 flecheMigrants: MEPs endorse search and rescue rules to prevent further deaths at sea
 flecheThe Troika: How Europe's bailout power broker works
 flecheCentral African Republic: How can the EU help?
 flecheReport on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
 flechePublic health MEPs to vote on final deal for tobacco products
 flecheCO2 emissions: cleaner vans by 2020
 flecheEU's long-term budget: how it all adds up
 flecheAung San Suu Kyi receives Sakharov Prize awarded in 1990
 flecheEU-China: the trade partnership worth €1 billion a day
 flecheMalala Yousafzai - winner of the Sakharov Prize 2013
 flecheEmployment MEPs approve plans to help more young people to work or training
 flecheEU drugs report: vigilance needed to tackle fast moving markets
 flecheAgriculture committee calls for EU-wide action to save bees
 flecheDid the WikiLeaks incidents create more or less democracy in the world?
 flecheCulture MEPs call on EU for more European online conversation
 flecheDevelopment aid: strong EU commitment needed to get MDGs back on track
 flecheLes films en 3D à l'épreuve de la saison d'été du cinéma américain
 flecheAnnée européenne du volontariat
 flecheMEPs mull over merits of an EU tax on financial transactions
 flecheGlobal warming: less meat = less heat
 flecheMore EU support for volunteering
 flecheG20: avoid placing too big a burden on future generations
 flecheExtending the scope of the Globalisation Adjustment Fund to respond to the crisis
 flecheUN's business and human rights envoy John Ruggie interviewed
 flecheSecurity and fundamental freedoms on the Internet
 flecheWater – 71% of the Earth's surface, but still scarce
 fleche"People like to participate in politics....on their computers!"
 flecheAmid economic crisis, roundtable debates 10 years of the euro
 flecheHuman rights remain key to EU-China trade relations
 flecheMEPs' diagnosis on economy ahead of Washington G20
 flecheMEPs and MPs debate CAP's future and world food security role
 flecheMEPs back new Erasmus Mundus Programme for student mobility and university exchanges
 flecheEurope struggles to influence UN human rights agenda
 flecheFuture of European cohesion policy debated with regions and cities
 flecheMember States to fulfil their ODA volumes, warn MEPs
 flecheImmigration: MEPs and national MPs reject "fortress Europe"
 flecheSarkozy to the European Parliament: "Europe can not be condemned to inaction"

 fleche1968-2008: 4 decades of customs union
 flecheErasmus Mundus: "be curious and don't hesitate"
 flecheAsma Jahangir : « Donner la parole à l’immense majorité qui veut vivre dans la diversité »
 flecheTrade in raw materials and commodities- MEPs concerned about supply
 flecheParliament and climate change: Carbon Capture and Storage
 flecheEuropean Parliament calls for more transparency on lobbying
 flecheUN advisor Professor Jeffrey Sachs on soaring food prices
 flecheInternational agreement cannot wait, warn climate change MEPs in Washington
 flecheMEPs to debate calls for more open WTO Wednesday
 flecheMEPs call for sharper focus on jobs and growth potential of cultural industries
 flecheBurma: EU needs "coherent strategy" ahead of military's poll
 flecheHearing told of high levels of child poverty in Europe
 flecheEuropean Parliament at 50 - images from half a century
 flecheWill Europe take in Guantánamo Bay prisoners?
 flecheLiverpool and Stavanger – European Capitals of Culture 2008
 flecheSuper Tuesday in America: can Europe learn lessons?
 flecheAre your details caught in the World Wide Web?
 flecheGrand Mufti of Syria: a single civilisation unites us all
 flecheIs immigration the cure for a declining working population?
 fleche2007 Sakharov winner Salih Mahmoud Osman warns of "atmosphere on impunity" in Darfur - Interview
 flecheEuropean Parliament approves the Charter of Fundamental Rights and urges UK and Poland to apply it
 flecheACP-EU: workshop looks at "Justice on the grass" Rwanda's victims
 flecheGlobalisation: MEPs debate the challenges and opportunities
 flecheChina committed to fighting climate change, but not yet to quantitative targets, says EP delegation
 flecheSeat distribution up for discussion in Parliament
 flecheHow different are parliamentarians from either side of the Atlantic?
 flecheEU regional policy stakeholders debate global economic challenges
 flecheEuromed Assembly in Tunis focuses on intercultural dialogue
 flecheEuropean Year of Intercultural Dialogue should focus on religion
 flecheEurope's cultural heritage only a click away?
 flecheParliament adopts priorities on legal and illegal immigration policies
 flecheHighlights: MEPs to discuss energy, immigration, rail, toys in 2nd September Plenary
 flecheEnvironment MEPs back compulsory CO2 cap on cars
 flecheNatural disasters, EU solidarity fund needed without delay and European reaction force
 flecheAs Erasmus turns 20 some MEPs share their memories
 flecheEurope's cultural heritage only a click away?
 flecheBrazil's President Lula on trade, agriculture, poverty and biofuels
 flechePortugal's EU Presidency: MEPs on their expectations
 flecheLes attentes du monde arabe à l’égard de l’Union européenne : L’espérance déçue d’une alternative aux États-Unis ?
 flecheMEPs give green light to new European Globalisation Fund
 flecheLe Parlement européen remet le Prix Sakharov 2006 à Alexandre Milinkevitch
 fleche2006 report: the drugs problem in Europe
 flecheDrugs in Europe cheaper than ever says report
 flecheDer EU-Beitritt Bulgariens und Rumäniens
 flecheThe EU must define how far it can expand with new member states
 flecheFair Trade and Development - call for the Commission to act
 flecheRapport sur le commerce équitable et le développement
 flecheL'Union européenne devrait bientôt s'exprimer d'une seule voix à l'UNESCO
 flecheEuromed: much achieved, much still to be done
 fleche Discours du Président Borrell devant la première Assemblée Parlementaire Euroméditerranéenne
 flecheSpeech by the President at the opening of the extraordinary session of the EMPA
 flecheParliament calls for a constructive WTO meeting in Hong Kong
 flecheREACH, the chemistry behind a colossal project
 flecheEl Houdaïgui, Rachid
 flecheParliament gives green light to Romania and Bulgaria
 flecheFerrero-Waldner, Benita
 flecheA clear "yes" to the Constitution
 flecheBudget 2005: MEPs urge more money for EU's key policy areas
 flecheBorell, Josep
 flecheMEPs call for EU seat on Security Council
 flecheIGC - need to move on - not a time for recriminations
 flecheCommission President Prodi unveils action plan as a result of Eurostat affair
 flecheEnlargement: EU should promote decision on Kosovo final status within two years
 flecheExternal Relations: Urgent call on both Israel and Palestinians not to declare the peace process dead
 flecheSecurity and Defence: Financing and priorities for EU foreign and security policy
 flecheUrgent call to both Israel and Palestinians not to declare the peace process dead
 flecheCommissioner Verheugen gives foretaste of monitoring reports on accession countries
 flecheEurostat: a chronology of events
 flecheEtendre Erasmus au monde entier
 flechePour une politique volontaire de lutte contre les maladies liées à la pauvreté
 flecheLe directeur général de l'OMC promet des efforts pour associer plus intensément la société civile aux négociations de Doha
 flecheSustainable development: towards a global partnership. Greens/EFA Report Accepted by the Commission
 flecheNicole Fontaine: "une Convention porteuse d'espoir pour l'avenir de l'Union"
13
SEARCH
Keywords   go
in