The European Union will be transferring approximately €47.7 Million to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in order to enable it pay December benefits to nearly 85.000 government employees and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The European Commission will be paying €26.2 Million, Spain €20.0 M. Ireland, €1.0 Million, and Luxemburg €0.5 Million.
E.U representative to the West Bank, John Gatt-Rutter, stated that the continuous support that the European Union provides to the Palestinian Authority is an indication of the European trust in the P.A, its institutions, and its ability to provide essential public services to the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The European support will continue through 2012 while the Palestinians continue their efforts to build economic stability. Gatt-Rutter thanked the governments of Spain, Ireland and Luxemburg for their support.
The European financial support to the P.A is also used to finance development and reform programs at main government ministries of the P.A, and is meant to help the Palestinians establish an independent authority that would be capable of running the future independent state.
The E.U also supports the Palestinian people through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and several development and cooperation projects.
The E.U granted the Palestinian government of Dr. Salaam Fayyad in the West Bank a total of €1.2 Billion since February 2008. The European Commission is the largest supporter of financial assistance to the Palestinians.
Its funds are channeled through the new PEGASE mechanism that was launched in February 2008; it is identified by the EU as “a new instrument to channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State and as a follow-up to the current Temporary International Mechanism (TIM)”.
It is intended to run for three years; focused on reform and development, the mechanism channels money to assist in four main areas; governance, social development, economic development of Palestinian public and private sectors, and development of public infrastructure.