BRUSSELS, October 1, 2015 (WAFA) – The European Union Wednesday announced that it would provide €30 million to support Palestinian refugees.
The EU announced in a press release that the provision of this fresh funding comes in the context of the efforts to help addressing the plight of the refugees in the wider Middle East region.
This new assistance package announced at the visibility events in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York brings the total EU support provided to UNRWA in 2015 up to €125 million.
The EU explained that as a first step, the money will support core UNRWA programmes, including education and health care.
It noted that the funding came in direct response to the deficit in the Agency’s core programme budget, which had risked a delay in opening UNRWA schools on time for the current school year.
The EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl signed an agreement Wednesday for the first €10 million, with an additional €10 million to follow in October.
The package also includes a further €10 million contribution to enable UNRWA to improve the education, health care and livelihoods of the 480,000 Palestine refugees living in Syria.
The EU note that this support would enhance Palestinian refugees’ resilience and allow them to continue with their lives in Syria, rather than embarking on precarious migration routes to other countries.
Commenting on the provision of this support, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “This is an investment in their future and at the same time an investment in the stability in Europe’s neighbourhood.”
“This additional contribution will also allow UNRWA to bridge its financing gap in 2015 and to move forward in the implementation of its reform process,” he said.
Underscoring the importance of this funding support, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said: “This important and generous contribution from the EU means that we will be able to overcome our funding shortfall for the year, allowing us to concentrate our efforts on ensuring the long-term financial stability of UNRWA so that our core programmes are never again put at risk.”
Krähenbühl expressed his profound gratitude for the EU for this funding support, which, he said, “is crucial in ensuring that Palestine refugees will continue to have access to quality education, health care and life-saving services until a just solution for their plight is achieved.”