A+ A-

Review of EU aid for Palestine finds no wrongdoing

BRUSSELS, Nov 21 (KUNA) -- The European Commission Tuesday published the results of its review of the ongoing EU financial assistance for Palestine, announced two days after the October 7th events.
The review has shown that the Commission's controls and existing safeguards "work well and no evidence has been found to date that money has been diverted for unintended purposes." The review followed a two-step approach. First operational screening took place to assess the feasibility of projects in the light of the new situation on the ground.
Under this step, the review has identified a list of non-feasible projects for an amount of 75.6 million euro (USD 82.6 million), which will be reprogrammed in support for Palestinians.
It concerns mainly large infrastructural projects, including Gas for Gaza, the Gaza Desalination plant and access to water services, whose implementation is not feasible in the current context, noted the Commission's review.
As part of the second step, the Commission carried out a risk assessment, for which all implementing partners were requested to provide information about their control mechanisms in place.
The Commission said it has identified some additional measures, such as the inclusion of relevant anti-incitement contractual clauses in all new contracts and ensure the monitoring of their strict application at all times.
It noted that ongoing support for Palestine will continue to be implemented with the organizations, which have provided the clarifications requested and reassurances on the safeguards in place, notably EU Member States Agencies and International Financial Institutions.
Beneficiaries subject of allegations of incitement to hatred and violence after the 7 October events were requested to comment on the allegations brought against them.
This concerns notably two projects with Civil Society Organizations. Payments will be processed once satisfactory clarifications have been provided, it said.
The review covered the entire development portfolio, including support programs to the Palestinian population, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinians (UNRWA), as well as relevant programs of other Commission services such as Erasmus+.
It did not concern humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.
The objective of this review was to ensure that in the changed circumstances no EU funding indirectly enables any "terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel"; secondly preventing the possible abuse of EU funding to incite hatred and violence; and thirdly, to assess whether the support programs would need to be adjusted in light of the current circumstance.
The European Union is said to be the biggest provider of external assistance to the Palestinians through the European Joint Strategy 2021-2024, which amounts to almost 1.2 billion euro (USD 1.3 bilion), of with 691 million euro (USD 756 million) have already been adopted. (end) nk.mb