13 July 2022, Belgium: The European Commission has announced that a redistribution of aid under the EU school scheme will see €2.9 million allocated towards catering for the needs of displaced Ukrainian children in EU schools. This follows the publication of a regulation on 1 June which invited Member States to review their requests for aid under the school scheme for the coming school year, which will run from 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2023.
The EU school scheme aims to promote healthy eating and balanced diets through the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk products to schoolchildren, while also providing educational programmes on agriculture and healthy eating habits. The total budget of the scheme is €220.8 million per school year, consisting of up to €130.6 million for fruit and vegetables and up to €90.1 million for milk. This is broken down into national allocations which are fixed by the Commission based on the Member States’ requests.
The invitation for Member States to review their requests came in light of the unprecedented situation brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which calls for solidarity between Member States to ease the burden on those at the forefront of catering for displaced Ukrainian children. In June, Member States submitted either the additional amount being requested under the scheme, or the amount of their national allocation that was not required.
The Commission decided on new allocations based on the notifications received from Member States. Any unused amounts submitted by Member States were redirected to the countries welcoming the highest number of Ukrainian children.