Amendment legislating for free school meals tabled in Parliament

An amendment legislating for the “School Meals” programme was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, as part of a government drive to combat child poverty and food insecurity in school children. The programme also aims to promote child welfare through a social policy of free school meals for primary school children.

The amendment provides that the programme will be implemented within three months of the law’s publication in the government gazette, with contracts awarded directly, without a tender process. According to the introductory report, the need to meet the immediate and urgent dietary needs of children in the current school year makes it impossible to keep to the deadlines foreseen under current legislation for open and closed processes for public tenders.

The cost of the programme is estimated to at 875,000 euros for the first three months, covering 10,000 students with approximately 2.5 euros per meal for 35 school days.

According to a Greek statistical authority (ELSTAT) survey on household income and living standards in 2015, the risk of poverty among children aged 0-17 years is 26.6 pct, up by 1.1 percentage point from the previous year. The number of children living in households that are below the poverty line, meanwhile, is 34.5 pct.