The European Commission has mobilised an additional €93.3 million in EU support for Palestine and agencies providing aid to the country.
€20 million of the funding will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides essential services to vulnerable Palestinian refugees in the Middle East; while the remaining €73.3 million will go toward improving living conditions for residents of East Jerusalem and boosting the Palestinian socioeconomic climate. In total, EU support for Palestine and Palestinians in 2018 has now reached €350 million.
The €73.3 million funding package of EU support for Palestine will cover the following areas:
- Support to East Jerusalem programme – €12 million toward the deteriorating living conditions and cultural visibility of Palestinians living in the eastern region of Jerusalem;
- Access to self-sufficient water and energy services programme – €31.4 million for long term infrastructure investment in water, energy and sanitation facilities in occupied territories, including the Gaza Strip; and
- Support to sustainable economic development and enhanced governance programme – €29.9 million investment in the economic development of Gaza and Area C of the West Bank.
The funding forms part of the European Joint Strategy in Support of Palestine 2017-2020, agreed upon by the EU Institutions, 22 Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The programme is devoted to providing support for Palestinians through investment in economic development, humanitarian relief, democratic governance and capacity building.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “We are confirming our strong commitment to EU support for Palestine. The EU additional financial support to UNRWA, which is a factor of stability in the region, will allow the Agency to continue to provide essential services to vulnerable Palestine refugees. In parallel, the EU is working with the Agency to intensify fundamental reforms and tackle its recurrent financial deficit. In addition, we are investing in socio-economic development including by moving ahead on the critical project ‘Gaza Central Desalination Plant’ and improving living conditions in East Jerusalem in line with our support to the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both Israel and a future state of Palestine.”