EU approves $$274 million aid package for PA

The European Commission on Tuesday approved €252.5 million ($274 million) of aid for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian refugees, in the EU's first assistance package of 2016, reported Bethlehem-based news service Ma'an.

The package includes €170.5 million ($185M) that are to be channeled directly to the PA – especially to its health and education services – while the remaining €82 million ($89M) are earmarked for UNRWA.

"The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians," Federica Mogherini, vice-president of the European Commission said in a statement.

"Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees across the country with access to essential services."

However, while Mogherini said the assistance would allow for "tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people," she also called for the PA's institutions to "become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic. "

Johannes Hahn, the EU's Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: "The EU remains firm in its commitment to Palestinians and actively supports a two-state solution.

"Our assistance to ensure the functioning of the Palestinian Authority and to support vulnerable Palestinian groups, including Palestinian refugees, is a concrete example of this commitment."


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