Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Palestine Progress in 2014 and recommendations for actions
The 2015 ENP package "Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014" consists of a joint Communication and a set of country specific and regional reports. The report on Palestine underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come.
2014 has been a very difficult year for Palestine, particularly as a result of the suffering and destruction caused by the summer conflict in Gaza and increased tensions across the West Bank including in East Jerusalem. In addition, the breakdown in negotiations in early 2014 meant there was no progress in the Middle East Peace Process during the year.
The restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation continued to hamper economic development severely, to undermine the financial sustainability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as to limit its ability to carry out its responsibilities even in areas within its control. These factors, together with the conflict in Gaza meant that the already decelerating Palestinian economy entered into recession in the course of the year. The limited progress in intra-Palestinian reconciliation prevented the PA from exerting its authority in Gaza, notwithstanding the needs on the ground.
Palestinian civil society in the West Bank still enjoys a relatively positive environment but there has been a shrinking of democratic space with complaints of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The socio-economic vulnerability of women across Palestine continues to be a matter of concern.
Although the PA has observed a de facto moratorium on the death penalty, in Gaza, executions were carried out by the de facto authorities as well as summary executions of "suspected collaborators"; these are particularly worrying developments.
In the course of the year, Palestine acceded to a number of international human rights conventions. It is important to focus now on the implementation of the commitments contained in these agreements.
Despite the challenging political circumstances, the capacity and accountability of police and civil defence services was strengthened, fiscal discipline improved and some sector-related developments took place, such as on water and health. However, despite the formation of the National Consensus Government, no tangible development took place with regard to the necessary harmonisation of legislation between Gaza and the West Bank and the unification of their respective legal system.
On the basis of the Country Progress Report, several actions are recommended to the Palestinian Authority for the year to come, amongst others:
• abolishing the death penalty while fully abiding by the de facto moratorium on the death penalty;
• pursuing positive steps in view of an early resumption of the Middle East Peace Process;
• advancing intra-Palestinian reconciliation in line with the principles set out by President Abbas on 4 May 2011, resuming full governmental responsibility in Gaza and organizing free and fair presidential and legislative elections across Palestine;
Please find the whole list of recommendations in the Country Progress Report here: http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/pdf/2015/palestine-enp-report-2015_en.pdf
For further information:
I. EU financial support:
In 2014, EU funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) amounted to €309.5 million. The bulk of it (€170.5 million, including financial contributions from Austria and Luxemburg) was channelled through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support. €87 million have been allocated to UNRWA in support of Palestinian refugees. The remaining amount of €52 million has been allocated to support to governance (€13 million); Support for investment, trade and vocational training (€10.5 million); Hebron Wastewater Treatment Plant (€15 million); Support to Area C (€3.5 million) and support to East Jerusalem (€10 million). The indicative financial bilateral allocation under the ENI for the period 2014-2015 will be in the range of €508-€621million. Targeted priority sectors of EU cooperation are: support to governance at local and national levels; support to private sector and economic development; support to water and land development. In addition to ENI, Palestine also benefitted in 2014 from other EU support such as the Partnership for Peace programme (€5 million), the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (€1.5 million) and humanitarian assistance Further information on financial cooperation can be found in Section IV of the Statistical Annex and on the following websites of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/neighbourhood/countries/palestine/index_... http://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/middle-east-north-africa/palestine_en
II. Further sources of information:
Joint Communication on the implementation of the ENP in 2014
Progress report for Palestine with the full list of recommendations
The European Neighbourhood Policy in general: a.) EEAS http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/index_en.htm
b.) European Commission http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/neighbourhood/overview/index_en.htm
Website of Ms Federica Mogherini, HR/VP http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/mogherini_en
Website of Mr Johannes Hahn, Member of the European Commission for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/hahn_en