Contribution to PEGASE in Support of Social Protection ("Social Allowances") 2016 for 2017
The overall objective of this temporary EU support is to maintain the viability of the two-state solution by avoiding the fiscal collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and sustaining basic living conditions of the whole Palestinian population.
The specific objective is to support the Palestinian national development agenda and in particular:
(1) to support the PA to deliver to the Palestinian population essential basic services by maintaining the functioning of the administration; (2) to improve the economic opportunities of poor, vulnerable and isolated population and; (3) to support the PA in reducing its budget deficit and implementing its reform agenda while increasing the PA's transparency and accountability.
Three categories of public expenditure are eligible for support under the PEGASE Direct Financial Support (DFS) mechanism: Component 1: Supporting Palestinian administration and services. Component 2: Supporting the Palestinian social protection system (VPF). Component 3: Support to East Jerusalem hospitals (EJH).
The Austrian transfer contributes to Component 2. The target group are poor and vulnerable Palestinian families in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Austrian contribution may benefit approx. 38,000 people (roughly 6,350 families).
To assist them, the EU supports the quarterly payment of social allowances through the PA's national cash transfer programme (CTP). This program aims to ensure support those households living in extreme poverty in the West Bank and Gaza which are eligible to receive cash assistance. Eligible households receive scaled allowances, determined on the basis of household size and welfare status, ranging from a minimum ILS 250 to a maximum ILS 600 (approx. EUR 60 to EUR 140) per month.
The Austrian contribution usually is part of the first quarterly payment of social allowances, i.e. this Austrian contribution is planned to contribute to the spring 2017 payment. In total, each quarterly payment (to which other donors contribute, too) amounts to approximately EUR 10 million and reaches around 50.000 Palestinian families - or 300.000 people - in need.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is channeled through PEGASE (Mécanisme Palestino-Européen de Gestion de l'Aide Socio-Economique), the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent Palestinian National Development Plans (PNDP) developed for the periods 2011-2013 and 2014-2016 with the aim to build strong governmental institutions as the basis for the future independent Palestinian State. Currently, the next National Development Plan, the “National Policy Agenda 2017-2022” is being drafted. These national plans set out medium-term agenda for Palestinian reform and development and contain a framework of goals, objectives and performance targets. Through PEGASE Direct Financial Support (DFS), the EU has contributed substantially to the recurrent expenditure of the Palestinian national budget. The three categories of public expenditure eligible for support under this action amount to a total of EUR 168.0 million in 2016, which follows previous Decisions committed every year since 2008 for funds disbursed through the PEGASE DFS mechanism.