Germany backs two more years of food aid to Europe's poor

14th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany said on Monday it will back two more years of food aid delivering meals to 18 million of Europe's poorest, after months threatening an 80-percent cut in cash value.

"We have signalled a possible compromise," said German farming minister Ilse Aigner on her way into talks among European Union agriculture ministers in Brussels, citing the transitional deadline for a new scheme to be agreed.

An annual pot this year worth 480 million euros ($660 million) has been distributed in the form of surplus food stemming from agricultural budgets under a scheme going back to 1987.

In April the European Court of Justice, ruling on a request from Germany, said the programme could only use supplies from EU food stocks and six countries blocked a plan to keep aid flowing in the form of cash payments under social goals.

Stocks have fallen in recent years, forcing the use of EU money instead to buy supplies on the market to feed the hungry -- a move that has angered some EU nations.

The others making up a blocking minority alongside Germany were Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

© 2011 AFP

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