Supporting Palestine: €23 million from the EU for the payment of June salaries and pensions

Bethlehem /PNN/

The European Union has provided today €23 million contributions to the June salaries and pensions of more than 43,000 of the Palestinian civil servants in the West Bank.

This support will enable the Palestinian Authority to meet its commitments towards Palestinian civil servants notwithstanding the difficult fiscal situation brought about by the COVID-19 crisis and the recent political developments. In the context of the Team Europe approach, the EU has frontloaded its financial contribution to create fiscal space and to support the PA in ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of critical public services.

The €23 million contributions are funded by the European Union and target civil servants, mostly working in the social sectors of health and education, as well as pensioners in the West Bank.

“The European Union remains fully committed in its conviction that a negotiated two-state solution is the best and only real chance for peace and security in this region. Over the years, the European Union has invested both politically and financially in building the institutions of the future independent Palestinian State as part of this vision.

Over the last few months, however, we are witnessing an unprecedented crisis, with not only the threat of annexation undermining the very foundation of this vision for peace but also the COVID-19 pandemic and its dramatic economic consequences jeopardizing stability and cohesion in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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Our contribution today will help maintain the delivery of key public services to the Palestinian people amid this extraordinary crisis. Our Team Europe approach should assure our partners in Palestine and beyond that we remain steadfast in our commitment to the cause of an independent, viable, and democratic Palestinian State, “said EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.

Since 2008, most of the European Union’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is channeled through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support, supporting the PA reform process and various national development plans, currently the National Policy Agenda (NPA) 2017-2022.

PEGASE supports the PA’s recurrent expenditures, mainly the salaries and pensions of civil servants, the social allowances paid through the cash transfer program, and part of the costs of referrals to the East Jerusalem Hospitals. Since February 2008, over €2.8 billion were disbursed through PEGASE by the European Commission and various development partners, namely the EU Member States. In addition, the EU provides assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as well as through a wide range of other cooperation projects.

The European Joint Strategy 2017-2020 builds the basis/framework for this engagement and provides a joint EU response to the NPA priorities, including major reforms and development programs implemented by key ministries in preparation for statehood.