EU aid to Palestinians to be retargeted

02 May 2003
The EU is to adjust the way aid is given to the Palestinian Authority, targeting it towards specific payments by the authority to small businesses and social services. This replaces a system whereby money was paid directly into the Palestinian treasury. EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said that the redirection of the Eur 80 million ($88 million) reflected the fact that Israel had ceased withholding tax transfers to the PA, making the direct budgetary aid less appropriate. 'Our objectives remain the same,' Patten said. 'A stronger PA administration, better conditions for the Palestinian people and a continuing process of reform.' However, the change also answers the concerns of some European Parliament members that the general assistance was being diverted to fund terrorist activities. An investigation by the EU fraud watchdog is underway (MEED 10:2:03).

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