Fifteen EU member states urged the European Commission to expeditiously disburse aid to Palestine which has been delayed due to controversy.
In a letter dated April 8 and obtained on Monday, a group of EU member states led by Ireland expressed concern about “the continued delay in the disbursement of EU assistance to Palestine for 2021 as a result of Commission proposals to condition funding on the education sector reform.”
The signatories argued that the funds should be released “immediately” because “the Palestinian Authority is in a difficult position and is experiencing a severe fiscal crisis, which has been exacerbated by the inflation of oil and wheat prices caused by the Ukraine war.”
Additionally, they noted that “conditionality at a time when the Palestinian Authority is already engaged in an ambitious program of educational reform risks undermining, if not reversing, progress made thus far.”
The letter expresses concern that the delay “could jeopardize our ongoing dialogue with Palestinians on this and other issues.”
Additionally, it notes that the European Commission’s recent proposal to link educational assistance to conditionality “does not enjoy widespread support” among EU member states.
The European Commission proposed a conditionality mechanism for disbursing financial aid to Palestine on the initiative of the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Oliver Varhelyi.
The move came in response to a controversy over certain school textbooks, which critics claim contain anti-Semitic texts and incitement to violence.
Ireland, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden have all signed the letter.
Ministers are also expected to raise the issue during Monday’s meeting of the EU’s top diplomats in Luxembourg.