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The European Union has contributed today to the Palestinian Authority's third payment of social allowances this year for poor and vulnerable Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza. The contribution, channelled through the PEGASE(1) mechanism, amounts to €12,93 million.
Palestinian households living in extreme poverty receive assistance through the Palestinian Authority's (PA) national cash transfer programme administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The programme provides a basic safety-net to the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through cash and in-kind assistance.
Today's contribution will reach nearly 50,000 Palestinian families in need. More than half live in Gaza. Eligible beneficiaries for EU support are identified in close cooperation with the PA Ministry of Finance.
"This payment of social allowances has special significance as comes just before the 'Eid, permitting those in need to provide for their families at this festive time. Under this programme, 60% of the families receiving assistance come from Gaza. The people who receive this allowance were already facing significant economic and social hardship before the recent conflict; they have even more reason now to need this help," said the EU Representative, Mr John Gatt-Rutter. "The EU remains committed to supporting national efforts to develop a comprehensive social protection framework that ensures the dignity of all Palestinians by providing access to essential, services services and a minimum level of income security", he added.."
Payments are made through a network of local banks in Gaza and the West Bank.
This contribution represents the third tranche of an overall 2014 financial commitment of €40 million allocated for the payment of social allowances for households living in extreme poverty. This amount, which includes funds for the EU budget and donors' contribution, covers almost half of the total budget of the Palestinian cash transfer programme.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the PA is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA's Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and subsequent Palestinian national 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. Since February 2008, €1.7 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 a wide range of other cooperation projects.
The Office of the European Union Representative
Shadi Othman,Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958 / htto://eeas.eurooa.eu/deleoations/westbank/