Brussels, 6 May 2011
The European Commission has today decided to provide an additional financial package worth EUR 85 million for the occupied Palestinian territory under the 2011 budget. This comes in addition to the EUR 100 million already approved from European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton said: "This decision renews our commitment to support the most vulnerable among Palestinians, and is part of our support to the Palestinian Authority's institution-building programme contributing to the salaries and pensions of PA civil servants who work in health and education. It is important that access to essential public services remains uninterrupted and the right to social services is respected. I would like to reiterate that we are following closely the political developments, and encourage the strive for dignity, prosperity and stability across the region."
In announcing the package Commissioner Štefan Füle said:
"With this decision, the Commission is demonstrating again its indefatigable support to the Palestinian people. The money, which will be provided through the PEGASE mechanism, will be used to pay the salaries and pensions of Palestinian Authority employees providing essential services to the population as well as to pay social allocations for the most vulnerable members of Palestinian society. We hope, as in the past, that the EU Member States and other donors will continue supporting the Palestinian people through this mechanism, keeping in mind the ultimate objective of building a Palestinian State."
Some EUR 45 million of the funds from today's decision will go towards salaries and pensions of vital workers, mainly doctors, nurses and teachers. A further EUR 40 million will be allocated for social allowances to vulnerable Palestinian families. These funds come in addition to the EUR 60 million provided to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the EUR 40 million provided to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the beginning of the year. At the request of Prime Minister Fayyad these funds have been advanced by an accelerated procedure in order to meet the Authority's urgent financial needs and to respect the EU's commitment to being a regular and reliable donor.
The funds will be channelled through the EU's assistance mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territory, PEGASE1, which was launched in February 2008.
So far the European Union has already provided EUR 762 million in support to the Palestinian Authority through this mechanism, with EU Member States contributing a further EUR 276 million.
Aid to the Palestinian Authority is provided to support the implementation of the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), presented by the PA at the donor conference in December 2007, held in Paris. Despite having made progress, the economic and social trends in the occupied Palestinian territory have deteriorated, largely due to the continuing blockade of Gaza both before and after "Operation Cast Lead" and a limited implementation on the part of Israel of its commitment to lift access and movement restrictions in the West Bank.
Further information on EU-OPT relations: