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Today, the European Union has made a contribution of €11.28 million to the Palestinian Authority's quarterly payment of social allowances to poor Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This Contribution is funded by the European Union (€10 million), and the Governments of Spain (€1million) and Ireland (€0.28 million). It will contribute to payments made to around 67,500 families of which nearly 80% live in the Gaza Strip.
The EU's support to vulnerable families is a commitment to the welfare of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The EU supports the Ministry of Social Development in serving a total of 115,000 vulnerable families through an inclusive and equitable social protection system.
"The poverty rate remains extremely high in Palestine, particularly in Gaza, and eradication of poverty remains a major challenge for the Palestinian Authority. It requires strong and effective social protection systems. Therefore, the EU is working closely with the Ministry of Social Development to meet this challenge while ensuring that the basic human needs for the poorest are met. This is done by providing technical support for improving the capacity of the Ministry and by contributing to the payment of social allowances to those in need. The challenges here are enormous but the determination to succeed is exceptional," said the Deputy EU Representative Tomas Niklasson.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is channelled through PEGASE(1) Direct Financial Support to the PA, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent Palestinian national development plans. As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of the PA's running costs, European Union funds are supporting major reform and development programmes in key ministries to help prepare the PA for statehood. The social allowances are paid to households living in extreme poverty who are registered in the cash transfer programme of the Ministry of Social Development. Since February 2008, over €2.3 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE direct financial support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA as well as through a wide range of other cooperation projects.
(1) Mécanisme Palestino-Européen de Gestion de l'Aide Socio-Economique (PEGASE)
The Office of the European Union Representative
Shadi Othman (02 5415 867, 0599 673 958); Inas Abu Shirbi (02 541 5 859, 0599 673 957)