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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Des jeunes mobilisés contre la faim en Europe

by Damien Roustel

Young People Mobilized Against Hunger in Europe

Translated Tuesday 6 November 2012, by Chrysanthie Therapontos and reviewed by Henry Crapo

At the initiative of the French Secours Populaire, 300 Europeans of eighteen to twenty-five years of age meet this weekend in Dole in the Jura. They will alert the public about the challenges facing youth in obtaining adequate food.

Ending hunger in Europe. One year after the national conference of youth solidarity, organized Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, the French Secours Populaire (SPF) organizes, 26, 27 and 28 October, in Dole in the Jura, a major European meeting of youth on the subject of the increasing poverty in Europe in general, and access to food in particular. They will be 300, aged about eighteen to twenty-five years, from 13 countries: Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Serbia.

This long-planned meeting comes at a time when humanitarian organizations are ringing alarm bells about the possible suppression, in 2014, of the European Union food aid system, i.e. EU’s Most Deprived Persons Program [1]. Without this free food, as many as 18 million Europeans, including 4 million French, would not have enough to eat.

"The FSP distributes 181 million meals, half of which comes from MDP. Keeping this program is a matter of life and death, "said Julien Lauprêtre, president of French Secours Populaire. "This is all the more unfair because it costs only one euro per year and per European. When you see the millions that are thrown away, it amounts to adding maleficence to ridicule, "he says.

Among the recipients of these meals, the number of young people explodes. "This increase in youth poverty in Europe is not a surprise for the French Secours Populaire. The association helped in 2011, in its support and solidarity services, and health posts, 125,800 persons, 23,455 of whom are young students. They need food, clothing, access to sport, health, culture, holidays. Anything that can help them to live a normal life, " said the organization."But how many have not dared to ask for help? Julien Lauprêtre questions. This reflects a deep unrest. "

Reflection, exchanges of action around the "Olympics of solidarity," a roundtable on youth involvement in associations and workshops for sharing experiences will provide a framework for these three days. Five themes will be particularly studied: international solidarity, access to sport, poverty and insecurity, holidays and recreation, culture. A parade will be held Saturday afternoon in the town of Dole.

But the highlight of these meetings will be a giant animation named Airfood Project, intended to "raise public awareness about the tragedy that threatens the poorest if European food aid disappears in 2014." Young people will pretend to eat from empty plates and drink from empty glasses. More than 8000 people are supporting this project. "We hope that after these days, we will have succeeded in taking stock of what is already being done and in implementing practices to fight against the rise of poverty," says Julien Lauprêtre.

[1MDP, see October 16 edition of l’Humanité.

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