Vienna, 26 March 2010 - "The continued blockade of the Gaza Strip and massive limitations in the freedom of movement in the West Bank are having a huge negative impact on people’s everyday life. The EU has repeatedly made it clear that it will not abandon the people in the Palestinian Territories, and it continues to provide decisive humanitarian aid year after year. The Austrian contribution to the EU payments is a visible expression of our solidarity with the sorely afflicted population and of our engagement in the region", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in connection with the current aid payments within the framework of the PEGASE mechanism (Palestinian-European Mechanism for Socioeconomic Assistance).
In February 2008, the EU put its support for the Palestinian Territories on a new basis – the PEGASE mechanism. Austria joined in from the very beginning, and is participating again in this year’s mechanism with a sum of 500,000 Euros. This money will help support more than 51,000 families in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip: "This support represents concrete assistance for the suffering families and will improve their living conditions“, said the Foreign Minister.
Austria is hence the first European Member State to transfer its PEGASE contribution directly to the European Commission: "This joint European mechanism has proven successful in the last two years. By making direct payments to the Commission, we increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the European development cooperation", said Spindelegger.
Contact: Federal Ministry for European and international AffairsPress Department Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213 abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at