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EU approves additional €85 million package to the Palestinian people

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EU approves additional €85 million package to the Palestinian people

2011-05-06 20:35:48 GMT+7 (ICT)

BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) -- The European Union (EU) on Friday announced that its Commission decided to provide an additional financial package worth €85 million ($123 million) for the occupied Palestinian territory under the year's budget.

Around €45 million ($65 million) of the funds from Friday's decision will go towards salaries and pensions of vital workers, mainly doctors, nurses and teachers, and another €40 million ($58 million) will be allocated for social allowances to vulnerable Palestinian families.

The finance package comes in addition to the €100 million ($145 million) already approved from the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument, of which €60 million were provided to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and €40 million were provided to United Nations Relief and Works Agency at the beginning of the year.

Aid to the PA is provided to support the implementation of the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan, which was presented by the PA at the donor conference in December 2007 in Paris.

"This decision renews our commitment to support the most vulnerable among Palestinians, and is part of our support to the Palestinian Authority's institution-building program contributing to the salaries and pensions of PA civil servants who work in health and education," said Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the Commission.

Ashton, who is also High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, underlined the importance of uninterrupted access to essential public services, as well as the right to social services.

The funds will be channeled through the EU's assistance mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territory, PEGASE, which was launched in February 2008.

"The money will be used to pay the salaries and pensions of Palestinian Authority employees providing essential services to the population as well as to pay social allocations for the most vulnerable members of Palestinian society," explained Commissioner Štefan Füle.

So far the European Union has already provided €762 million ($1.1 billion) in support to the Palestinian Authority through this mechanism, with EU Member States contributing an additional €276 million ($400 million).

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-05-06

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