Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland’s voice on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, has welcomed today’s vote of the full Parliament on the provision of milk and fruit to school children.
The vote reforms a pre-existing scheme, merging the two programmes into a single legal instrument, with budgets of 150m EUR for fruit and vegetables, and 80m EUR for milk. 25 out of 28 Member States participate in the former (the UK does not), and all Member States take part in the latter.
“Overall, this has been a good result. Most importantly, we succeeded in excluding fruit-flavoured and chocolate-flavoured milk from the list of eligible products, which would have made a mockery of the programme. We have also seen the milk scheme benefit from an additional 20m EUR a year.
“Another positive point to be welcomed is the clear statement that EU funding should be in addition to – not a substitute for – national funds on school nutrition programmes, and that regional governments will have more flexibility in the administration of programmes.
“However, embarrassingly, the UK government is still one of only three Member States not to participate in the school fruit and veg scheme and I call on our new government to fully engage with the EU to make sure our school children do not miss out.”