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EU to Issue Final Decision on Financial Aid Disbursement to PA ‘Soon’

EU to Issue Final Decision on Financial Aid Disbursement to PA ‘Soon’

Thursday, 28 April, 2022 - 08:45
European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Palestinian officials hope the European Union will soon issue a decision to disburse assistance to Palestine and overcome an objection by Hungary, which has conditioned the funding to education sector reforms.

Advisor to the Prime Minister for Planning and Aid Coordination Estephan Salameh said an EU commission meeting will soon be held during which a final decision will be taken.

Speaking to the official Palestinian radio, Salameh expressed hope that the EU’s 27 members would pass the decision without any condition.

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi has been leading the efforts to delay the disbursement of 214 million euros to the Palestinian Authority over the long-running textbook controversy.

He visited Ramallah and discussed with senior PA officials ways to advance the implementation of the EU plan in the Mediterranean region.

He called for changes to be made to Palestinian textbooks and for reforms in Palestinian institutions as well.

There’s an internal row in the Commission about a proposal to make funding for the PA conditional on securing changes to Palestinian school textbooks, which critics say contain anti-Semitic tropes and incitements to violence.

The PA has pressured its allies in the EU to receive the aid and overcome the current financial crisis.

In March, the EU failed to resolve the issue and referred the matter to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Salameh said the delay is only temporary due to lack of consensus in the bloc on the aid disbursement.

The PA relies on the funds to overcome the months-long financial crisis caused by the pandemic, Israel’s deduction of Palestinian tax funds and the drop in external financial aids.

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