The European Union committed an additional $59 million to the Palestinian Authority.
The funds, which come on top of the $648 million pledged by the E.U. last December, are earmarked for salary and pension payments, fuel for the Gaza Strip’s power station and assistance to poor families.
The new funds are an unexpected commitment as a part of the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan, and will be disbursed through PEGASE, the European funding mechanism that was set up in response to the creation of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority government in late 2007.
Since the beginning of this year, the European Union has transferred nearly $442 mililon to the Palestinian Authority through PEGASE, making the E.U. the largest donor to the Palestinians in 2008, as in years past.
The E.U.’s commitment was presented at the launch of a $54.5 million public infrastructure investment program that aims to improve public services such as electricity, water and road networks, as well as the rule of law and matters of public security.
In announcing the new commitment, the European Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said: “This extra package is a clear indication that we are continuing and reinforcing our
commitment to the Palestinian people.”