France , Germany agriculture ministers lock horns over food aid

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France and Germany went head-to-head at a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers Tuesday over food aid for the poor, hampering a decision over an extension of the programme, reported dpa.

The food aid, which has been funded through the EU’s agriculture budget since 1987, was started to funnel overproduced goods to the poor with help from charitable organizations.

“As a basic principle, the help for the needy is good … But now we don’t have any surpluses anymore,” German Agriculture Secretary Robert Kloos noted as he arrived for the meeting in Brussels.

He argued that the task of supplying the poor with food should now fall to national governments instead of the EU, with funds coming from their social care budgets.

That didn’t sit well with France’s agriculture minister, Bruno Le Maire.

“What do I hope to do? Bang my fist on the table and say that we cannot accept a Europe that doesn’t help the poorest of the poor,” he said ahead of the meeting. “Renationalizing this assistance is out of the question.”

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