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EU, Spain donate 21 million euros to support Palestinian families in need

Dec. 17, 2016 6:17 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2016 6:17 P.M.)
Ruins of structure donated by the EU, Fasayil, 10 Feb. 2016. (B'Tselem/Aref Daraghmeh)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The European Union (EU) and Spain announced in a statement on Saturday that they would be providing €21 million to “support families in need” in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip. 

The contribution will be made to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) payment of social allowances to around 111,500 Palestinian families living in poverty, who will receive the social allowances through the PA's Cash Transfer Programme (CTP). 

According to the statement, out of the €21 million, the EU provided €20 million and Spain €1 million. 

Additionally, around two-thirds of the 111,500 families set to receive the allowances are from Gaza, where more than 1.8 million Palestinians live in extreme poverty and with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

"The fundamental idea behind social protection is one of social justice and cohesion. All citizens should have access to essential services and minimum income security, to ensure that no one is left behind or marginalized in society, in particular those who are the most vulnerable, said EU representative Ralph Tarraf.

“Regular social allowances are essential to ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian families are met,'' Tarraf continued.

The statement praised the PA’s Ministry of Social Development, specifically the CTP, which the statement said “promotes social inclusion of the poor and vulnerable.”

“The EU and Member States will continue to support the Ministry in putting people first and empowering vulnerable Palestinian families. This ultimately serves the growth and prosperity of the Palestinian society,'' Tarraf added.

The contribution brought the total annual support to the CTP to €43.2 million in 2016, including €40 million from the EU budget and the remaining part from the governments of Austria, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

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