The European Union (EU) has not contributed any funds to Palestine this year, in a move that has delayed donations to poor Palestinian families, announced the Palestinian Authority's Social Development Minister, Ahmad Majdalani.
In a statement, Majdalani said that the EU informed the PA that it is not going to pay any of this year's funds until it completes special procedures for technical and administrative reviews related to the funds provided by the EU to a number of countries.
The EU has been the largest single donor to the PA, providing €150 million ($175.7 million) for social allowances, including salaries for employees such as teachers and health care workers.
The PA minister said that the delay has resulted in the government not being able to pay the cash aid to the beneficiary families on time, noting that it had to borrow from banks to pay part of the funds.
The current crisis is directly linked to the sharp decline in foreign aid, he added.
According to the Jerusalem Post, an EU spokesperson said: "The payments of social allowances to vulnerable Palestinian families and salaries to civil servants are the responsibility of the PA, not the EU."
"The PA has been perfectly aware for months that EU funding in 2021 would be delayed for technical reasons," the spokesperson said.
"As per our communication with the PA, the delay in our annual support for Palestinians is expected to last until October 2021. The PA – like any responsible public authority – must plan on the basis of the revenue streams to which it has access, including when it knows donor generosity may be delayed," the spokesperson explained.
Mjadalani has stressed that his ministry is doing its best, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, to secure allowances for poor families as soon as possible.