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European Commission - Press release

Palestinian people and local business at the heart of the Commission's new assistance package

Brussels, 22 August 2011 - The European Commission today announced additional financial support to the Occupied Palestinian Territory for state-building, water-management and sanitation, as well as education and health services for refugees.

The €115 million package will also comprise financial assistance to businesses in the West Bank, helping to create jobs and generate growth in the area. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) will benefit through a € 40 million share of the new funding.

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle announcing the adoption of the package said: "This support shows clearly the EU's standing commitment to the Two-State Solution, by supporting those institutions which will help to form the Palestinian State, as well as ongoing help to UNWRA's work in providing essential assistance in different areas including education, health and social services to the refugee population."

Today's package brings EU aid to the occupied Palestinian territory to a total of €300 million, in addition to the €145 million already committed for Direct Financial Support and an initial € 40 million contribution to UNRWA's General Fund.

Background

This package will focus on six priority areas:

Contribution to UNRWA's 2011 Regular Budget (€40 million)

UNRWA provides education, health, relief and social services to approximately 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. These services include supporting poorest refugees with food, shelter, selective cash assistance and hospitalization costs and also supports community development projects (including 104 women's programmes) which provide skills training, childcare facilities, advice and other social services to refugees. The ability of the Agency to provide these vital services is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions made available annually from donors. This is the second tranche of Commission support, and brings the EU's contribution to UNRWA's General Fund for 2011 to €80 million.

Water Sanitation and Re-use Programme in the West Bank (€22 million)

This programme aims to improve sanitation for the Tubas and Eastern Nablus areas, as well as enabling the development of irrigated agriculture in the same area and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Palestine Water Authority and local stakeholders.

Support to Private Sector and Capacity-Building for Institutions related to the economy (€11 million)

This action will promote economic growth, helping to create jobs. It will provide financial support to businesses in the West Bank, affected by the Israeli occupation, strengthening capacities at the level of business service providers (e.g. by providing technical assistance, training and market research) to promote economic revitalisation in the Gaza Strip. It will also reinforce the capacity of the Ministry of National Economy and related institutions to integrate the Palestinian economy into the multilateral trading system (e.g. by proving assistance for the WTO accession, technical assistance to develop internal expertise and capacities to help formulate policies).

Support to the Rule of Law Sector (€20 million)

The action will provide support to the priorities and objectives of the Palestinian National Development Plan to take forward objectives agreed in the European Neighbourhood Policy Joint Action Plan. In particular it will help the security sector, ensuring that order is maintained and the safety of the citizens effectively addressed in an accountable and transparent manner through technical assistance to improve civilian and public oversight in the security sector and to support the needs of the Civil Police, Prison Service and Civil Defence.

Support to Financial Governance and State-Building (€14 million)

The project will support the Palestinian Authority's (PA) efforts in strengthening its Public Financial Management System and increasing the cost effectiveness of basic services. It aims to reinforce the PA's administrative capacity to increase revenue collection and decrease net lending, particularly in the electricity sector through the use of modern tools and procedures in line with international standards and best practices through technical assistance and procurement of equipment.

Support for the Development of Community Services in East Jerusalem (€8 million)

The overall objective of this programme is to support the process of institution-building and deliver on the EU's political commitment to maintain sustainable development, dignity and improve the welfare of the Palestinian population of the city by bettering their socio-economic conditions. The programme aims to improve Palestinian communities' access to and protection of their social, political and economic rights, enhancing the quality of vocational training education in East Jerusalem, for example.

For more info

On EU relations with the Occupied Palestinian Territory:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/country-cooperation/occupied_palestinian_territory/occupied-palestinian-territory_en.htm

On the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP):

http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm

Contact :

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)


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