On 7 April 2021, the European Food Banks Federation organized virtually the 3rd 2021 meeting of its EU Working Group.
15 food bankers from 11 different countries participated and the discussion focused on the transition from FEAD – REACT-EU and ESF+. In this challenging period, a dialogue between Food Bankers from all over Europe and FEBA has been extremely useful to learn from other countries and to share the most important challenges.
Moreover, before the meeting FEBA circulated a survey between the members of the EU Working Group.
This survey aimed at gathering information about the level of involvement of partner organizations and civil society organization (FEBA members) by Member States (in particular, Managing Authorities) in the planning of the REACT-EU initiative and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
The outcomes of the survey served as a basis for the meeting of the EU Working Group on 7 April and for the discussion. In fact, the REACT-EU initiative was adopted and published on the Official Journal of the EU on 23 December 2020.
It has a total budget of €47.5 billion– €37.5 billion in 2021 and €10 billion in 2022 – that can be used by Member States as additional resources for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and theFund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).
Recent FEAD amendments open the way to the possibility for Member States to allocate part of their REACT-EU resources for 2021 and 2022 to FEAD programmes. The funds can be spent until the end of 2023, therefore bridging the gap between the emergency crisis response and the long-term recovery supported by the new programmes under the MFF 2021-2027 (e.g. ESF+).
EU Member States can decide flexibly how to allocate the additional resources from the REACT-EU initiative among the 4 different funds. Most Member States plan to devote part of these additional funds to the FEAD, allowing programmes to continue supporting those most in need.