EU to continue aid to Palestinians after review shows funds don’t go to Hamas – POLITICO
The EU will continue to send aid to Palestinians after a review conducted by the European Commission confirmed no funds were being accessed by Hamas and programs will continue without any delays, Commission officials said Tuesday.
“The review found no indications of EU money having directly or indirectly benefited the terrorist organization Hamas,” said Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. Money directed to projects in Gaza that are not feasible due to the war will be “relegated to Gaza either as humanitarian or development aid,” Dombrovskis added.
The EU is the largest international aid donor to the Palestinians and during the probe, 119 contracts worth €331 million were screened.
The review was announced two days after Hamas’ attack in Israel on October 7. Olivér Várhelyi, the commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, triggered major controversy when he unilaterally announced the freezing of all EU aid to Palestine, which EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell opposed and later so did Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which led to Várhelyi announcing a face-saving budget review of the aid. He then demanded to have additional external checks on the aid.
Várhelyi also announced the Commission will introduce what he called additional measures, which a large number of commissioners have questioned, since the probe found no issues with funds falling into the hands of Hamas. Eleven commissioners, including the offices of Borrell, Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn, and International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, questioned the idea, POLITICO reported.
POLITICO has reached out to the Commission to clarify who asked for further measures and what they entail and did not immediately hear back.
Barbara Moens contributed reporting.