Bethlehem/PNN / During a signing ceremony in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the European Union announced the 2022 financial assistance package to the Palestinian people. This package of €199.2 million will support the Palestinian Authority’s expenditures for social allowances, medical referrals, salaries and pensions, and projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, in addition to EU-funded projects in East Jerusalem. This adds to the already disbursed financial support of €97 million to UNRWA, which includes a €15 million top-up from the Food and Resilience Facility aimed at mitigating the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on food prices and food security. This brings the total EU assistance to the Palestinian people under the 2022 budget allocation to €296 million.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara, and the EU Heads of Mission. The priorities for 2022 were identified and agreed upon through consultation and sector policy dialogue, as set by the framework of the European Joint Strategy 2021-2024.
To that end 114.2 million EUR will support the Palestinian Authority in the payments of the salaries and pensions of civil servants, the social allowances to vulnerable families and the referrals to the East Jerusalem Hospitals. Under the programme, the EU will continue to support key reforms in the areas of public financial management, water and energy. The amount also includes 1.2 million Euro from Austria as a contribution to social allowances.
A programme of 30 million EUR will contribute to increase the volume of drinking water in Gaza where quality and quantity of water per capita remains below international standards, thus complementing the humanitarian response.
While 27 million EUR are allocated to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to acquire green competitiveness, climate-smart agribusiness, rural finance inclusion and environmental policy. It is expected to leverage further financing opportunities in the emerging field of green economy.
A 12 million EUR envelope will help in addressing the needs of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem through the EU East Jerusalem programme that covers areas ranging from education to health; social inclusion to private sector development; community empowerment to human rights.
8 million EUR of this package will help improve access to social and public infrastructure in Area C.
5 million EUR will support access to justice and conditions for fair trial, legal aid, legal and judicial specialisation and will promote civic participation to strengthen the rule of law in Palestine.
Under this package, the EU will support Palestinian cultural heritage and promote a more sustainable creative economy through a programme of 3 million EUR.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony, the EU Representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff said: "Despite the numerous economic, social, and political challenges Palestinians face in their quest for self-determination and well-being in the occupied Palestinian territory, the EU remains committed to the two-state solution.
Our projects and interventions cover almost all aspects of Palestinian life. An effective Palestinian Authority guided by the principles of democratic governance and rule of law is a key element for stability, peace and security. In this context, we will continue to call for the respect of existing agreements between Palestinians and Israelis. We will also continue to work with the Palestinian government towards structural, economic and fiscal reforms that will improve the performance and efficiency of its public services."