EU Contributes €82 Million in Support of Vital Services to Palestinian refugees A Palestinian man stands outside the office of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza City. AFP Photo / SAID KHATIB
The European Union (EU) Tuesday provided €82 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of education to Palestinian refugees.
“With the provision of funding worth €82 million for 2020, the European Union will allow UNRWA to continue providing access to education for 532,000 Palestine refugee children, primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients and assistance to over 250,000 vulnerable Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan,” the EU said in a statement.
“The disbursement of our annual support comes in a very critical moment as the agency is currently preparing and responding to the coronavirus outbreak,” it added.
“Finding a just, agreed and realistic solution for the Palestinian refugees is one of the internationally agreed parameters for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, said High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell. “Our support of UNRWA is therefore not only our humanitarian duty. It also helps keeping alive the prospect of sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which, for the EU, can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution.”
Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhely, also said: “The EU maintains its support to UNRWA's delivery of essential services to Palestine refugees. This will contribute to stability across the region. We have paid all of our support for 2020 now in order to allow the agency to plan ahead and meet its obligations, in particular importance in light with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Other donors should now also step up. Ensuring appropriate and sound financial management of EU support remains an important element of EU contribution in the future. To this end, we are working closely with UNRWA on internal reforms to help meet the needs of the Palestinian refugee population in the most effective way and ensure UNRWA focuses on essential services,” he added.
The EU is a key provider of assistance to UNRWA. Together with the EU Member States, the total amount provided to UNRWA in 2019 was €520 million, representing around 60 % of the total budget of the organization.