"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Brussels, 20 June 2002 - The Committees on Foreign Affairs(1) and on Budget have this evening approved unanimously the transfer of €18.7 million from the MEDA programme to the Middle East Peace Process budget line, which funds EU assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This transfer had been postponed, pending assurances on the proper use of EU budgetary assistance to the PA.
The votes followed a presentation to the two Committees by the European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten. The Commissioner reported the findings of an inquiry into allegations on the misuse of EU budgetary assistance to the PA. These allegations had been made on 5 May 2002 by the Israeli Government ('Naveh Report') and were widely reported in the media of some Member States.
Commissioner Patten declared before the Foreign Affairs Committee: " After scrupulous examination of all the allegations that have been made, I can report to you today that there is no evidence for EU funds used for other purposes than those agreed. There is no reason to state that EU money has financed terrorism or bought weapons".
"We started the work of reform of the Palestinian Authority. If there is to be a Palestinian State there has to be a Palestinian Authority. We will continue our budgetary assistance of € 10 m a month.... Europe should be in the vanguard of a concerted development plan for Palestine."
The European Commission carried out its inquiry jointly with the IMF, with the co-operation of the Israeli Government, the Israeli Defence Force and the Palestinian Authority.
The votes followed undertakings from the European Commission to further strengthen the monitoring of direct budgetary assistance, to guarantee maximum transparency on the use of funds and to investigate any new suggestions of improper use of funds as soon as they arise, keeping the Parliament informed at all times.
Note: a full transcript of the Commissioner's statement at the Committee for Foreign Affairs will be made available later today.
(1) with two abstentions