The sixth meeting of the PA-EU Joint Committee forms a turning point in bilateral relations (30/06/2010)

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the European Union (EU) convened today for their annual Joint Committee session in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Joint Committee is the highest level body bringing together officials from the European Commission and the PNA. At the meeting, the PNA and the EU reviewed progress in bilateral relations over the past year and set the path for the adoption of a new Joint Action Plan. The Joint Action Plan guides the PNA-EU relations for a period of 3-5 years and will be consistent with the Palestinian National Plan 2011-2013 and the government's two-year plan to statehood.

Under the chairmanship of H.E. Ibrahim Khraishi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, around 40 participants from PNA ministries, the European Commission and EU Member States convened to exchange their views on political and economic reform and development, energy, trade, environment and social issues as detailed in the current ENP Joint Action Plan.

H.E. Ibrahim Khraishi opened the meeting by highlighting the strength and the importance of the EU-PNA bilateral relations: "Today is the sixth time that we meet in the framework of the ENP Joint Committee and we can already look back on a long list of achievements and an ever deepening quality of our relations. The EU is the PNA's main partner in our ambitions to fulfil the objectives set out in Prime Minister Fayyad's two-year plan for statehood and we hope that on our next meeting in summer 2011 we will be able to announce that we have succeeded in our reform efforts, also thanks to the trustful and strong cooperation with the EU."

The European Commission's co-chair of the meeting, Director Tomas Dupla del Moral, added: "we are proud of our joint achievements during the past three years and we see steady progress in the PNA's efforts to fulfil their ambitious state-building agenda that we support whole-heartedly. Today we begin with the preparations for a new Joint Action Plan, which will guide our cooperation for the coming years and which encompasses all areas ranging from good governance, rule of law, economy, trade to science, technology and education. In the Joint Committee session, we cherish the openness of discussions, which are proof of our trustful relations."

As outcome of the Joint Committee session, the PNA and the EU agreed on a modality to review and update the current Joint Action Plan, which is the guiding document in the bilateral ENP process and sets out the objectives for the EU and the PNA over a period of five years. The current Joint Action Plan dates back to 2005 and needs updating. The new plan will incorporate the political, social and economic developments of the past five years while being consistent with the PNA's own Palestinian National Plan 2011-2013 and the two-year-plan to statehood.

The Joint Committee also reviewed progress in the four dedicated Sub-Committees on Human Rights, Good Governance and Rule of Law; on Social Affairs; on Economic and Financial Matters, Trade and Custom Issues, as well as on Energy, Environment, Transport, Science and Technology.

In all four Sub-Committees, the EU and the PNA reported progress on the objectives set out in the current Joint Action Plan. The Joint Committee also endorsed new deliverables for the Sub-Committees to be achieved and reported about by time of the next Joint Committee in summer 2011. Furthermore, the participants discussed the latest EU progress report on the occupied Palestinian territory issued in May this year, the participation of the PNA in European Union programmes, the recent joint consultations with civil society organisations and the current Interim Association Agreement.

This was the sixth EU-PNA Joint Committee meeting. The last meeting of the EU-PA Joint Committee took place in June 2009 in Brussels.

Contacts:

The Office of the European Union Representative
West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA
Jerusalem
Antonia Zafeiri, Communication and Information Manager,
Tel: +972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mobile +972 (0) 548 024 915
Shadi Othman, Communication and Information Officer,
Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Bahaa Zakout
Head of Media Unit
Tel: +972 (0) 2 242 0183 , Mobile: +972 (0) 597 60 66 00