EU financial assistance to Palestine*

Briefing 01-12-2023

The European Union has been the biggest provider of external assistance to the Palestinian people for many years. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU allocated €2.2 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. EU assistance to the Palestinians through the European Joint Strategy 2021-2024 amounts, indicatively, to €1.18 billion. EU financial assistance to Palestine* consists of different financial tools. The largest part of the assistance falls under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – 'Global Europe' for 2021-2027. This includes supporting the establishment of an administrative structure, building new infrastructure and support to civil society. According to the European Commission, €681 million of the €1.18 billion planned overall for 2021 to 2024 has already been approved since 2021, of which €218 million has not yet been spent. On top of that, in 2022 the EU released over €26.5 million in humanitarian funding for Palestinians, according to the European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). For 2023, the EU allocated €28 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians in need. However, Hamas's barbaric terrorist attacks against people in Israel and the subsequent Israeli military operation against Hamas in response to those attacks have led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation for Palestinians living in Gaza. In response, the EU has drastically increased its humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, raising the total to €103 million for 2023. Palestinians can participate in the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes. Moreover, Palestine is eligible under the Interreg NEXT Mediterranean Sea Basin programme and is a beneficiary under the food and resilience facility. Following Hamas's barbaric terrorist attacks on 7 October 2023, the European Commission reviewed all financial aid for Palestine, aside from humanitarian aid, with regard to its feasibility and risks. Funds envisaged for non-feasible projects will be redistributed to other projects in the Palestinian territories. Regarding the risks, the Commission has identified some additional measures, such as the inclusion of anti-incitement contractual clauses in all new contracts. The European Parliament has called on the Commission to reassess humanitarian aid needs for the region to ensure that EU funding continues to reach those in need of assistance.