€10.5 million from the EU for the payment of August salaries and pensions

Bethlehem/PNN/

The European Union has today provided a contribution of €10.5 million to help the Palestinian Authority pay the August salaries and pensions of its civil servants mostly in the health and education sector in the West Bank.

This support will help the Palestinian Authority to meet a part of its commitments towards Palestinian civil servants as it continues to face an unprecedented fiscal crisis as a result of the prolonged economic crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories. This situation is seriously exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing political tensions with Israel.

The €10.5 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.

“This is another significant contribution from the EU for the payment of salaries and pensions. It brings our total contribution to the current expenditures of the Palestinian Authority in 2020 to around €80 million. Under the Team Europe approach, the EU and its Member States have worked tirelessly and successfully to create fiscal space and to support the Palestinian Authority, with a view to ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of critical public services, and especially in the social sectors.

The ongoing political tensions with Israel need to be overcome as soon as possible as Palestine, like the rest of the world, is struggling against the catastrophic economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Irreversible damages to Palestine’s socio-economic fabric are not in the interest of any party. The existing bilateral agreements between Palestine and Israel must be respected and unilateral steps avoided.

The Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel should be immediately transferred and accepted without any conditions so that the Palestinian Authority is in a position to protect the Palestinian people from Covid-19 and support them in their daily economic struggle”, 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.