Last updated: 15 January, 2013

EU speeds up aid for Palestinians

The European Union said Tuesday it was speeding up disbursement of aid to help ensure there is no interruption in its support for the Palestinian Authority and UN refugee programmes.

It said it was bringing forward to the first quarter of 2013 aid payments of 60 million euros ($80 million) to help the Palestinian Authority finance its budget deficit, pay civil servants and pensions, and provide essential public services.

Another 40 million euros will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), paying for education, health, relief and social services programmes for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

“The European Union is again doing its utmost to underpin the ability of the PA and UNRWA to deliver essential services to the Palestinian people without interruption,” EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said.

“We are committed to continuing our support while urging other donors to follow suit,” Ashton added in a statement.

The EU noted that the Palestinian Authority had had “particular problems in obtaining donor funds early in the year. The EU is aware of this and, as a reliable donor, has taken steps to alleviate the problem.”