The European Union has released the first tranche of its 2015 financial support to the Palestinian Authority and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), totalling €212 million. This new funding will help provide vital basic services such as education, healthcare and social services to the Palestinian people.
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, commented: “The EU remains committed to the two-state solution and will therefore continue to support the Palestinian Authority in its state-building efforts and in delivering basic social services. Our support remains the quickest and most effective way to deliver funding to the Palestinians, including those living in Gaza, in a moment of severe difficulties”.
This first tranche of €212 million consists of two components:
- €130 million of direct financial support to the Palestinian Authority through PEGASE.
- €82 million financial support to UNRWA.
PEGASE (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 social allowances to the Palestinian households living in extreme poverty. Through this financial package, the EU also contributes to alleviating the debts of the Palestinian Authority towards the East Jerusalem hospitals and promotes the reform of the health referral system. Around 1/3 of the total value of PEGASE is allocated to paying salaries, pensions and social allowances in the Gaza Strip.
Via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (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 first tranche of new financial support to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA is part of the 2015 annual assistance package to support the Palestinian people. It is financed through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The ENI is the main EU financial instrument for support to Palestine for the period 2014-2020.
The EU is a major donor to both the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, providing around €300 million each year to the Palestinian people, including the refugees who live outside Palestine in the camps of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In 2014, aid to the Palestinians amounted to €307 million, including additional funding for UNRWA to face the consequences of the military operation in Gaza.
The PEGASE mechanism was launched in 2008 and has since then sustained the Palestinian Authority in its effort to pursue the fundamental values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Over the years, it has been improved and refined to ensure that the funding is further linked to concrete achievements and key reforms from the Palestinian Authority.