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IP/10/944

Brussels, 14 July 2010

The EU continues to support the Palestinian people

The European Commission has agreed an additional financial package worth € 71 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, topping up the € 224 million already allocated by the EU in the 2010 European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, as well as a reinforcement of humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.

Ahead of her trip to the region on Sunday, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President said: "Further to our direct financial support through payment of PA civil servants’ salaries and social benefits, this package reinforces our support to the institution-building efforts made by the Palestinian Authority towrads establishing a future State of Palestine."

European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle added: "The Palestinian people can count on our continued support. The money will be used to support the social and economic development priorities of the Palestinian Authority. Significant support will be given to improving the security and rule of law, which are key in building the Palestinian statehood."

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva said "Our assistance is vital to helping Palestinians in Gaza survive. The decision of Israel to facilitate the flow of items allowed to Gaza is as a welcome step. But it needs to be translated quickly into acts in order to change the daily lives of Palestinians on the ground and revitalise the economy".

The funds from today's decision will go towards helping the PA meet its objectives for social and economic development and institution-building under the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. This includes a major initiative to support the Two Year Plan for Statehood announced by Prime Minister Fayyad in August 2009, with significant emphasis on security and the rule of law. Other priorities include infrastructure, with special attention being paid to water, support for private sector development and support for Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem.

The funds will be channelled through the EU's assistance mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territory, PEGASE, which was launched in February 2008.

Commissioner Georgieva also announced a reinforcement of humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees. In addition to helping the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees' (UNRWA) cover a €1 million financing gap for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared camp, the Commission also earmarked funds to increase our contribution to €10 million for UNRWA food aid in Gaza. In this way, the Commission responds to a plea by UNRWA's Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi, to assist his organization in its efforts to ease conditions for Palestinians in Lebanon and Gaza.

So far the Commission has already provided €650 million in support to the Palestinian Authority through the PEGASE mechanism. Since 2000, the European Commission has provided close to € 275 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.


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