MEPs: More funds to school scheme for fruit, vegetables and milk

MEPs: More funds to school scheme for fruit, vegetables and milk


MEPs want to increase the scheme’s funding and call on EU countries to spend at least 10% of their budget on educational measures. Priority should go to local and seasonal products.

The school scheme has been set up to support the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk to children, from nursery to secondary. The limited schools’ budget prevented the scheme from reaching more students and of more diverse ages, concluded MEPs on the Agriculture Committee in a draft resolution approved on Wednesday by 42 votes and 2 abstentions.

Therefore, MEPs call on the Commission and EU countries to increase the budget, to allow fruits, vegetables and dairy products to be distributed more widely and throughout the whole year. MEPs also want to reduce bureaucracy, give schools longer contracts (CA18) and simplify procurement procedures, which may prevent the entire budget being used.

MEPs on the Agriculture Committee assert that at least 10% of the funding allocated every year from EU and national aid combined, should be earmarked for educational measures, in order to raise awareness of the nutritional value of the food.

Fruits, vegetables and dairy products to be distributed in EU schools should be unprocessed, organic, produced locally and with quality indications, say MEPs. Given that there are big differences between the member states in the implementation of the scheme, MEPs suggest the Commission and EU countries should assess national performances, to better prepare the next school scheme revision.

In a period marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom schools from the scheme, all EU countries show a decrease in participation in the scheme. Only 16 out of 76 million students in the EU were targeted by the scheme, from 2017 to 2023.

Funded through the EU’s CAP, the EU budget for the scheme, in the period 2017-23, was set at €250 million per school year, distributed per country according to the number of children and the level of regional development. Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, this budget amounts to €220 million per school year.

The pandemic had a significant impact in the quantity of products available for distribution, with a reduction in the number, variety and period. The expenditure linked to distribution also decreased.

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