Alfred Sant questions the EC on funding for people at risk of poverty
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The European Commission, answering a Parliamentary Question tabled by Maltese MEP Alfred Sant on EU funds dedicated to reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, said that up to the end of 2012, €12.9 billion were invested in social inclusion measures, and further €10.3 billion have been also committed.
“With regards to The programming period 2014-2020, it was agreed for the first time in the context of cohesion policy and with a view to ensure sufficient resources for social inclusion that each Member State has to earmark at least 20% of its European Social Fund allocation for social inclusion. There are specific indicators that will allow the explicit monitoring of these spending,” the EC said.
Sant asked the EC to provide the annual data regarding the funds in the EU Budget for the year 2011-13 that were directly related to the Europe 2020 target of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in terms of commitments of allocations from the budget and in terms of actual disbursement.
Alfred Sant also asked whether the commitment of allocation set in the 2014 budget covers this target.
The EC said that although the operational programmes are still being negotiated between the Commission and the Member States, it appears that the latter have provisionally allocated over the whole period EUR 20.9 billion of the ESF for promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination, beyond the mandatory 20% threshold – which represents approximately €17million.
In addition, the EC said, as from 2014 the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) shall contribute to achieving the specific objective of alleviating the worst forms of poverty, by providing non-financial assistance to the most deprived persons by food and/or basic material assistance, and social inclusion activities aiming at the social integration of the most deprived persons. The EU Budget 2014 assigns €501 million (in current prices) to the FEAD in commitment appropriations.
Member States are also invited to use the European Regional Development Fund to invest in education, social, health and housing infrastructure in order to improve social inclusion in the 2014-2020 period.