‘EU Foreign Policy chief ‘firmly opposes’ banning aid to Palestinian Authority

Middle East Monitor  /  May 15, 2023

The European Union Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell, protested on Saturday against a possible ban on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because of content deemed “hateful and anti-Semitic” in Palestinian textbooks.

“The Palestinian Authority is in a difficult situation and it risks bankruptcy if financing from the EU is blocked. As High Representative, I will not allow it,” Borrell told AFP in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, where he has participated in EU foreign ministers’ meetings.

The EU aid amounts to 300 million Euros ($327 million) a year.

On Wednesday, the EU Parliament approved its budget but demanded to provide its aid to the Palestinian Authority on the condition that “the problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks and study cards” is removed.

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

“We have a shared interest to ensure an education for the next generation that supports peace & co-existence” Varhelyi wrote on Twitter.

However, Borrell protested that the issue “has already been dealt with by the European External Action Service with the Palestinian Authority”, adding “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,” he added.