On July 12, EIPA, MEP Fulvio Martusciello and MEP Artis Pabriks hosted a hearing on conditioning EU AID going towards the Middle East. The hearing was entitled: “Is there a dark side to EU AID? Building safeguards and ‘conditionality’ for EU funding in the Middle East.”
The hearing also saw EIPA formally launch a Cross Party Working Group on EU AID in the MENA region. The Working Group is looking at building in ‘conditionality’ when it comes to EU funding in the Middle East.
‘Conditionality’ in plain English means that funding can be cut or stopped entirely when recipients directly promote or incite violence.
MEP Pabriks, who chaired the hearing, focused on the impact that conditionality would bring to EU Aid. A strong advocate of EU soft power, he underlined the importance of EU Aid in bringing peace to the region. However, it can’t be done without controls from elected officials of the EU he added.
Mr Hans Gustaf Wessberg, the Swedish member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) explained the role of the ECA in the funding process, focusing on the auditing methods used in monitoring and assessing the efficacy and impact of the Aid programs on the ground.
Mr Wessberg himself personally led an audit team to the West Bank. His team went to Gaza but for security reasons he was advised not to go. The Court of Auditor’s report can be found HERE. The ECA found several irregularities, notably that EU funds are paying wages to PA officials in Gaza that are not working.
He concluded his presentation by stating that “The commission has not made sufficient use to leverage reforms in the civil area”, and that “conditionality should be used more”.
The third speaker was EIPA’s Director Alex Benjamin. His presentation gave the audience an overview of how EU funds are currently being used by the PA. The Palestinian Authority set up a Martyrs Fund, that pays the families of terrorists that have killed Israelis.
Many schools are also named after those terrorists, inciting the children to follow their example.
Members of the EU Parliament that attended the event were very interested and an Q&A followed the presentations.
The Working Group will meet for the first time this autumn.