European Commission increases financial assistance for Palestinian people
The European Commission has decided to provide an additional financial package worth €61.4 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territory under the 2010 budget. This comes in addition to the €295 million already approved from ENPI.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President stated: "This additional package shows our determination to support the Palestinian people and the Palestinian state-building process, which is making strong progress. We are also increasing our contribution to UNRWA´s General Fund."
Announcing the package, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said: "Our commitment to support the Palestinian people remains strong. Our funds will be used to pay the salaries of more than 80,000 Palestinian Authority employees providing vital services to the population, as well as to allow UNRWA to provide basic services to the refugees."
Some €41.4 million of the funds from the decision will go towards helping the Palestinian Authority meet its salary obligations for teachers, doctors and nurses in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The funds will be channelled through the EU's assistance mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territory, PEGASE, which was launched in February 2008.
Another €20 million will be provided to UNRWA's General Fund to allow it to continue to meet its obligations to provide health, education and social protection services to the Palestinian refugee population.
So far the Commission has already provided €692 million in support to the Palestinian Authority through this mechanism, with EU Member States contributing a further €255 million.