EU and UNRWA sign new landmark agreement and reaffirm joint commitment to support Palestine refugees

June 7, 2017
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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn; and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl, today signed a Joint Declaration on EU support to UNRWA for the period 2017-2020. They also announced the signature of the financial agreement for the EU contribution to the UNRWA Programme Budget for 2017, which covers the Agency’s essential services in terms of education, health care, and relief and social services.

In line with the Joint Declaration, Federica Mogherini recognised the essential role of the Agency in the Middle East. “With its tireless work, UNRWA keeps supporting Palestine refugees, providing education, promoting socio-economic development and stability in the Middle East,” she said. “The international support is key to UNRWA: the European Union will keep investing in one of the pillars of its Middle East peace policy.”

The 2017-2020 Joint Declaration strengthens the political nature of the EU-UNRWA partnership and reaffirms the European Union’s commitment to promoting the rights of Palestine refugees and supporting the long-term financial stability of the Agency in a context of intensified budgetary constraints and operational challenges.

“The European Union is committed to support UNRWA in further reform efforts, building on the important work underway, to ensure the provision of quality core services to vulnerable Palestine refugees. I am delighted that the EU/UNRWA partnership will from 2017 take an increasingly visible form in support to selected schools and health clinics,” said Commissioner Hahn.

In the Joint Declaration, the EU committed to continue assisting UNRWA in securing financial resources to enable the Agency to support Palestine refugees. The EU will essentially contribute to the funding of quality education for 500,000 children, primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients and assistance to over 250,000 acutely vulnerable Palestine refugees.

On the margins of the signing ceremony, the EU and UNRWA announced the disbursement of a EUR 82 million commitment to the UNRWA Programme Budget for 2017. Among others, this will help pay the salaries of 32,000 local UNRWA staff, most of whom are Palestine refugees themselves, and contribute to the running costs of close to 700 UNRWA schools and 140 UNRWA health-care centres.

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Press release

Joint Declaration between the EU and UNRWA on European Union support to UNRWA (2017-2020)


Countries covered:

  • Palestine *