EU cuts to hit poor people in Portugal

A needy elderly woman receives her daily meal in the dining hall of the Portuguese charity AMI ” International Medical Assistance centre in Lisbon (file photo).

Head of Portugal’s Food Bank says spending cuts to European Union food aid programs will deteriorate the situation for 390,000 poor living among Portugal’s 10.5 million population as the number of needy people in the European country is increasing.

On Sunday, Isabel Jonet also added that recession-hit Portugal may lose 40 percent of 20 million euros (USD 27 million) in food aid it receives from the EU annually amid economic meltdown in Western Europe’s poorest nation.

The poor people were assisted by the EU “Food for the Needy” program which is set to be replaced by the Fund for European Aid, she said adding that the fresh fund will have lesser resources for food– a problem which the recession-mired government has no plan to face with.

œUnlike in other countries, Portugal does not yet have a plan to make up for the changes or for a delay in the new scheme coming through, so there may be an interruption in our distribution of food,” Jonet said.

The economic crisis in Portugal is forcing an increasing number of people in the recession-mired eurozone country to turn to food banks for help.

According to Susana Ambrosio , the director of the Maria Roque Pereira Foundation, a Food Bank partner, œRequests for help are piling up. We have many new unemployed, [including the] members of middle-class families who [have] lost their jobs and now need help.”

The European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted Portugal an emergency loan worth 78 billion euros (102 billion US dollars) after the country˜s borrowing costs soared to unsustainable levels in 2011.

In return, the Portuguese government imposed a series of deeply unpopular austerity measures to meet the conditions of the international bailout of its economy.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.


Copyright: Press TV