BRUSSELS - The European Union is considering a roughly 75 percent cut in funding for a program that helps feed 18 million of its poorest citizens.
The cuts, planned to begin after New Year’s, would come at a time of rising unemployment and consumer food prices in many parts of Europe, as well as overall economic turmoil on the continent. The looming cuts already have raised fears among people who rely on the program.
“We poor, small people, we cannot face up to this,’’ said Rene Waltener, 41, who is unemployed and married with four children.
The Food for the Deprived program dates to 1987. As farming became more efficient, food was increasingly bought on the market to keep the program going.
In recent years, Germany and other countries have objected to that practice, saying the program is not living up to its original mandate of doing something useful with excess products from farms. Germany won a legal case in April to outlaw the practice of purchasing the food on the market.