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The European Commission has proposed to increase the EU’s budget for Humanitarian Aid for 2021-27 by an additional 5 billion euros, from the European Union Recovery Instrument. The total budget would raise to 14.8 billion euros for the next 7 years.

Farm Europe welcomes this proposal. In the Commission own words:

“The increased budget reflects the growing humanitarian needs in the most vulnerable parts of the world. The Humanitarian Aid Instrument will provide needs-based delivery of EU assistance to save and preserve lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural hazards or man-made crises.”

“The coronavirus pandemic further increases already existing humanitarian needs. It has a major health, social and economic impact on societies around the globe, in particular on the poorest countries. It is estimated that up to 265 million people worldwide could be under severe threat of hunger by the end of 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic (OCHA humanitarian needs overview 2020). This requires strong reinforcements to the humanitarian aid budget to meet the growing needs.”

We could not agree more. The EU has a political, social and moral duty to assist those populations.

The EU Humanitarian Aid is provided under Council Regulation 1257/96. Aid is granted through accredited partners (NGOs, national and international agencies). There are no provisions as regards where and how food should be bought, each partner might follow its own rules.

Farm Europe believes there is a strong case for assuring that food bought with the EU Humanitarian Aid funds comes preferably from the EU, and not from other countries. There is little point in our view to use EU money to buy food in other countries, when food is available in the EU and easy to mobilize. All the more, as the European Union Recovery Instrument  main purpose is to sustain the recovery in the EU.

Operating the EU Humanitarian Aid with a community preference when buying food would not diminish or curtail the provision of humanitarian aid. The sole difference, and an important one, is that instead of providing an additional outlet for the agri-food sector in third countries, it would do so for EU farmers and agri-industries.