Remember whether Europe on the most vulnerable — the unemployed, the homeless, lonely? 2013 — the last year of the European program of feeding the poor, which has existed for over a quarter century. What mechanism will replace it — and will it? This is — a report from Warsaw.
Evening in the capital, the municipal police, as usual, patrolling troubled areas. Here, in this underground hatch for 11 years living Gosia
At least it's not cold passing through the underground heating duct. Gosia says: "We were coming social care center staff, along with the director. I asked if I could get some benefit, and so, I was told "no." You do not necessary! Because I drink. And it seems like I do not need help. "
Those who are under no place, build makeshift houses on the outskirts of the city. Monica — invalid, her leg was amputated. With such an injury finding a job she can not. Disability pensions are not paid to her, too. The man with whom she lives, works — cleaning, small repairs. He gets in a month is not more than 350 euros, which is about the minimum wage in Poland: "We are doing everything to get out of this situation, but our income is not enough."
According to official data, in today's Poland permanent roof over their heads have from 80 to 130 thousand people. The police said: "We are increasingly seeing the homeless … So, poverty is not just those who live in manholes or huts. No, the poor and lacking in ordinary homes. The situation today is not easy in a country for all, people do not make ends meet. Can not live from paycheck to paycheck. This is — a reality for the majority of the Poles. "
In this case, Poland — one of the few EU countries where economic growth is still in positive territory. Against this background — 2,000,000 Poles officially recognized as living below the poverty line. This — about 7% of the population. Hence — the ever-growing demand for free meals, which are prepared and distributed local humanitarian and religious associations. At the heart of "Caritas" in Warsaw products for the poor are given the European program of feeding the poor — PEAD.
Director of the Centre commented: "This program allows us to feed a hot meal every day 800 people. If money is no longer do we have to close the dining room. "
At lunch and free range products come not only homeless people. Anna, a waitress, for example, earns 300 euros a month, "It's over, for life is not enough. We do not live — survive. I have here the husband lost his job, two children, is incredibly difficult. I get help at the center, can take free food and clothes. Oh, and sweet sets children on a holiday. That's how to wriggle out of. "
90% of the products to be free distribution in Poland comes from the collection of PEAD. The program was launched in 1987 as an offshoot of the Single European agricultural policy. Its budget — half a billion euros. The idea was to transfer the needy surplus agricultural production, as well as placing orders for the necessary products to the poor. In its present form the program will not last long: the European Court of Justice upheld the claim of Germany to cancel funding PEAD. In place of the program, the European Commission proposed to create a fund that should fill all solvent members of the EU. Fund planned for launch in 2014. Guarantees, however, there are: Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic said that the problem of support for disadvantaged should henceforth be addressed at the national level.
The coordinator of the program of the Polish representation Lukas Beyer said: "The EU initiative provides too limited budget, she divorced from reality, does not account for what trumpeting economic indicators: the disadvantaged are more and more! A budget for them is thus reduced by 40%. The EU should show solidarity with the poorest members — those countries that can not include support for the poor in national budgets. In Poland, for example, is impossible. "
Of the 18 million beneficiaries of the program in 20 countries in the EU are one and a half million Poles. If the program PEAD sink into oblivion and will not receive adequate continuing, most of these people are very tight. The Polish Association of Family Support are sounding the alarm: in Europe today increasingly difficult to collect surplus food to send to needy — the effect of the crisis.
"If the European aid program closes, we will have less work! Less queuing! Well, it's a joke, of course, But seriously then we have a lot of very poor families who simply have nowhere to take the food. We have families with 4-5 children, they live on benefits, parents do not work there. There is also problematic families that are in this social isolation. And for them the food — a huge problem. Alone they can not cope. They need support, give them the opportunity for a new start in life. " — Say in the center of "Caritas".
The most vulnerable group — the poor pensioners. Anna gives an example: "I have a tiny pension, some one hundred euros. Me no matter what it is missing. And if it were not for these products, do not know how I would have survived. We are failing, believe me, we can not manage ourselves. "
In association "Samaritan" in Lodz — everything, as always … Queues, tired face.
According to the workers, among them visitors — a lot of work, but low-paid people, and single mothers. Isabella — A single mother lost her job: "As long as I get a fixed allowance, unemployment benefits and more benefits for her son. Enough money for it to pay the rent or apartment, or the electricity bills — one thing. If we stop to help the products, then all the money will go to food, and will end this by saying that over time we will be evicted. "
If European help cut down all the same, humanitarian and religious associations are hoping to reach out to government agencies and private donors. Maybe they will help the company?
The director of the supermarket "Leclerc" ready to give unsold food to the poor. He's doing it today — only in very small proportions, less than one percent of turnover. Why?
"Uncomfortable fact that such actions — the transfer of unsold products — subject to VAT in Poland. So, we give and we pay the same tax. Profitable for us to just throw this food. True, our policies have developed a draft law, which must waive taxes on such activities. Then it will be easier to share, we will not be taxed, "- says Krzysztof.
While supermarkets are waiting for the new law, their visitors readily capture packet-other cereals or potatoes to give to the poor: the level of activity of individual contributors this winter in Poland is high.