The European Union has made available €52 million for development projects in Palestine to support economic and social development and institution-building measures foreseen by the Palestinian National Development Plan for 2011-2013. This funding, which was announced on the day that Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is visiting Brussels for talks with the High Representative, will support private sector in creating new jobs, support the construction of the new Nablus East Water Treatment Plant, finance small capital investment projects in different municipalities and continue to help deliver community services in East Jerusalem.
This is the final part of EU assistance to the Palestinian people in 2013 from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), bringing the total amount contributed from this instrument this year to €300 million.
The High Representative Catherine Ashton said: ”I am pleased to announce this assistance package to support Palestinian economic development on the day that the Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah is here in Brussels. The ultimate objective of the EU’s financial assistance remains the establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Today we also discussed the difficult financial situation of the Palestinian Authority and the expectations for the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) due to take place at the margins of UN General Assembly in New York.”
The High Representative and the Prime Minister also followed up on their discussions held in June during the High Representative’s visit to the Middle East. They talked about the deepening bilateral relations between the European Union and Palestine. The High Representative confirmed the EU’s support for the Palestinian state-building process and stressed the need for a strong and stable Palestinian government committed to reform and the rule of law. In the talks today, Catherine Ashton also expressed full support of the European Union for the ongoing Middle East peace talks.
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said: “We have to look beyond immediate financial help to the Palestinian Authority to provide longer-term sustainable support. We will also continue to support the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem to help ensure their access to services in East Jerusalem.”
The new financial assistance package has the following components:
• Governance: this funding aims to support governance in Palestine by helping municipalities investing in small infrastructure projects and improving management practices for better service delivery and by strengthening the efficiency of the PEGASE Mechanism (an instrument to channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State). Total value: €13 million.
• Support to the Private Sector: in order to promote sustainable, private sector-led social and economic development. The EU and PA recognise that only a dynamic and growing private sector will be able to create the jobs necessary to face the growing Palestinian population and gradually reduce the public wage bill, while generating the revenues required to fund essential public services. Total value: €11 million.
• Nablus East Water Treatment Plant: By helping to build the new plant, this project will contribute to the protection of water resources in the region and significantly reduce health risks caused by inadequately treated wastewater released in the environment, as well as allowing the re-use of treated wastewater. Total value: €20 million.
• Support to the Delivery of Community Services in East Jerusalem: for a number of years we have provided significant funds to deliver on the EU commitment to maintaining sustainable development, the dignity and welfare of East Jerusalem communities, in order to consolidate the possibility of reaching a future political agreement of the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.
The actions will focus in particular on improving the living conditions of the Palestinian population living in East Jerusalem, through the protection of rights of vulnerable women and girls and to enhance women’s local employment opportunities.
Specific actions will support the development of the private sector in East Jerusalem, seek to improve living conditions of Palestinian families in the Old City as well as improving quality care and patient safety in East Jerusalem hospitals. These investments complement the €13 million of direct financial support provided to the East Jerusalem hospitals adopted earlier this year and channelled through a new window of the PEGASE mechanism which is now open to all donors. Total value: €8 million.