EU's Borrell 'firmly against' aid block to Palestinian Authority

AFP , Saturday 13 May 2023

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday he was against blocking financial aid to the Palestinian Authority over hateful and anti-Semitic content in Palestinian school books.

Josep Borrell
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks to journalists during an informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Marsta, North of Stockholm, Sweden, on May 13, 2023. AFP


On Wednesday, the EU Parliament approved its budget but demanded that the support of 300 million euros ($326 million) per year would only be provided on the condition that "the problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks and study cards" is removed.

On Friday, the bloc's Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivier Varhelyi announced a second study into the text books.

Borrell has been in Stockholm since Friday, taking part in a meeting of the EU's foreign ministers

"The Palestinian Authority is in a difficult situation and it risks bankruptcy if financing from the UE is blocked. As High Representative, I will not allow it," Borrell told AFP in the Swedish capital.

"This matter has already been dealt with by the European External Action Service with the Palestinian Authority. We don't need a new study, or anything that would delay the payment of the financial aid that the Palestinian Authority needs.

"The payment of European aid faced delays two years ago, and it meant that people missed out on necessary help.

"There is no discussion about looking for excuses about blocking this financial aid. On this point I'm firm," the 76-year-old added.

The funds for 2023 have yet to be transferred, with the payment coming under the jurisdiction of a collegiate decision by the Commission, an EU spokesperson said.

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