BRUSSELS/REUTERS European Union member governments agreed Nov. 14 to spend one billion euros ($1.37 billion) of the EU s budget on food aid for Europe s neediest citizens for the next two years, though the deal foresees ending the program in 2014.
The food aid scheme for the needy will be maintained in 2012 and 2013. This is a victory for European solidarity, French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Brussels after the deal was announced.
France has led efforts within the EU to continue funding the scheme after 2011, but agreement had been blocked by Germany, Britain and others, who argued responsibility for social welfare policies should rest with national governments.
The breakthrough came after Germany agreed to the continuation of the scheme for a further two years, in return for a pledge from France that EU funding for the scheme would end in 2014.