EU to ‘soon’ release final decision on disbursement of financial aid to Palestinian Authority

Palestinian officials hope that the European Union will soon make a decision to disburse aid to Palestine and overcome an objection from Hungary, which made funding conditional on education sector reforms.

The Prime Minister’s adviser in charge of aid planning and coordination, Estephan Salameh, indicated that a meeting of the European Commission will be held soon during which a final decision will be taken.

Speaking to the official Palestinian radio, Salameh expressed hope that the 27 EU members would adopt the decision without any conditions.

European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi has led efforts to delay the payment of 214 million euros to the Palestinian Authority over the long-running textbook controversy.

He visited Ramallah and discussed with senior PA officials ways to advance the implementation of the EU plan in the Mediterranean region.

He called for changes in Palestinian schoolbooks and reforms in Palestinian institutions as well.

There is an infighting within the Commission over a proposal to condition PA funding on securing changes to Palestinian schoolbooks, which critics say contain anti-Semitic tropes and incitement to violence.

The PA has pressured its EU allies to receive aid and overcome the current financial crisis.

In March, the EU failed to resolve the issue and referred the matter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Salameh said the delay is only temporary due to the lack of consensus within the bloc on the aid disbursement.

The PA is relying on the funds to weather the months-long financial crisis caused by the pandemic, Israel’s deduction of Palestinian tax funds and dwindling external financial aid.