Brussels, 28 May 2014
EU announces new support for the Palestinian people
The European Union has made available €200 million to ensure support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in order to provide vital basic services to the Palestinian people (such as education, health relief and social services).
This is the first tranche of EU support to the Palestinian people for 2014 and consists of two main actions: a contribution of €130 million, through the PEGASE mechanism, to the Palestinian Authority and a contribution of €70 million to the General Fund of UNRWA.
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, commented: “The EU intends, through its contributions to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, to help sustain key Palestinian institutions and to provide a social safety net for refugees.”
The Commissioner added: “The PEGASE mechanism is open for contributions to Member States and other donors wishing to deliver their support to the Palestinian Authority through a rapid, well-functioning and transparent system”.
PEGASE (which stands for the ‘Mécanisme Palestino-Européen de Gestion de l'Aide Socio-Economique’) is the mechanism through which the EU helps the Palestinian Authority build the institutions of the future independent Palestinian State. Through the payment of salaries of civil servants and pensioners it ensures that essential public services keep operating; in addition PEGASE provides for social allowances to those Palestinian households living in extreme poverty. As was the case in 2013, the EU PEGASE contribution for 2014 includes a component of €13 million to alleviate the debts of East Jerusalem hospitals and promote the reform of the health referral system.
Via UNRWA, the EU is delivering its support to Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, enabling refugee families and their children to attend school, to receive medical attention and to survive economically, this way keeping alive the values of humanity, solidarity and dignity of the refugees.
The EU has been a major donor and a reliable partner to both the PA and UNRWA, providing over €300 million each year to the Palestinian people, including the 5 million refugees.
Since its establishment in early 2008, the PEGASE mechanism has sustained the Palestinian Authority (PA) in its effort to pursue the fundamental values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Through PEGASE, the EU allocates two types of financial support to Palestinians, both support for PA recurrent expenditure and the delivery of public services and support for long-term sustainable Palestinian development. The EU assists the PA to pay the salaries of public workers and to pay social allowances to vulnerable families.
The path to democracy and state-building is however hampered by several constraints, such as a serious deterioration of the economic situation.
The PA and UNRWA are now both facing an extremely deep financial crisis, for reasons that are different, but concurrent. The PA suffers from an overall worsening of the economic situation; a fiscal crisis aggravated by uncertainty over the transfers of revenues from Israel and diminished donors contributions; UNRWA is facing increasing costs due to the demographic trends and the consequences of the Syrian crisis.
For more information
Office of the European Union Representative West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/eu_westbank/political_relations/index_en.htm
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG: