|First payments to Palestinian health workers under Temporary International Mechanism
During her visit to Gaza today, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner announced that the European Commission is making its first social allowance payments to Palestinian doctors and nurses. Along with other public sector workers, doctors and nurses have only been paid broadly one month's salary over the last five months. The allowances from the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) will not match the level of their regular salaries but will enable health workers to carry on performing an essential service that benefits the whole population. Their salaries have not been paid due to the financial crisis in the Palestinian authority. This is a further action under the TIM following on from the European Commission's support to provide deliveries of fuel to for hospital generators, water pumps and water treatment plants following the destruction by the Israel Defence Force of 6 transformers of the Gaza Power Plant. The delivery of fuel has allowed the continued provision of essential health services to over 90,000 patients and access to water for some 1.2 million people in Gaza.
During her visit to Gaza today, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: “By paying social allowances to frontline health workers, we are keeping an essential service going, that is of direct benefit to the whole Palestinian population. We are working as fast as possible to bring other elements of the TIM on stream, so that social allowances for those in greatest need can be launched.”
In paying allowances to Palestinians doctors and nurses, the European Commission does not assume the responsibilities of an employer. The payments that are being made are modest, and intended only to provide a basic safety net to enable people to carry on working.
The intention is to support up to 13,000 workers. The payments will be made progressively and directly into workers’ bank accounts.
The Temporary International Mechanism, developed by the EU at the request of the “Quartet” (EU, US, UN and Russia) and endorsed by the European Council has three “windows” covering the health sector, utilities and social allowances. The Commission has allocated broadly €100 million to the TIM bringing the total made available from the Community Budget so far this year to the Palestinian Territory to €329 million.
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