13 October 2011
During a visit to Brussels, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi met with various senior officials, among them the EC Commissioner for Development, H.E. Mr Andris Piebalgs, and addressed a joint meeting of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs, Development and Budget Committees in Brussels on 10 October 2011.
The Commissioner-General used the opportunity to inform the Members of the challenges faced by UNRWA in the region, thanking them for all their support and commitment to the Agency and Palestine refugees, and appealing to them to assist in ensuring that Palestine refugees are appropriately recognised in the revised European Neighborhood Policy for the Near East.
The Commissioner-General stated: “During these times of change and upheaval in the Near East, Palestine refugees often feel isolated and their aspirations neglected. EU support, as manifested through the generous support to UNRWA, is therefore a key message reaffirming that the EU cares and is committed to assist.”
The EU and its Member States are the biggest donors to UNRWA. Together with humanitarian aid and support from the Instrument for Stability, the EU contribution for 2011 now stands at EUR €125 million. Indeed, between 2000 and 2010 the EU provided more than EUR €1.2 billion in support to the Agency.