EU to provide vulnerable countries with $633 million to tackle food crisis

BRUSSELS

The European Union will support vulnerable countries with an additional 600 million euros ($633 million) to deal with the food crisis aggravated by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“To help our partners, we will mobilize an additional 600 million euros to avoid a food crisis and an economic shock,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced on Tuesday at the European Development Days 2022 conference in Brussels.

She said the war that began in February is taking a “heavy and senseless toll” not only on the people of Ukraine, but also on the world’s most vulnerable people.

“Russia is still blocking millions of tonnes of grain that we desperately need,” she added.

The European Commission has adopted the proposal to mobilize funds from the reserves of the European Development Fund to help African, Caribbean and Pacific countries “to cope with the dire situation”, the EU executive said in a statement. .

With the additional funds, “we will strengthen our support to tackle the crisis, while contributing to sustainable and resilient food systems,” said EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.

Of the total amount, €150 million will be allocated to humanitarian aid, €350 million to sustainable production and the resilience of food systems and €100 million to macroeconomic support.

The aid complements the €3 billion package previously announced by the food security bloc.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he would send a letter to all senior diplomats from African countries to counter “Russian propaganda” on global food security.

He said the world’s food supply has not been put at risk by EU sanctions, but because Russia is blocking grain shipments from Black Sea ports and destroying crops.

Russia denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming it on Western sanctions.

According to the African Union, sanctions against Russia, including its exclusion from the SWIFT international payment mechanism, prevent some member countries from buying food products.

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