The EU will continue sending aid to the Palestinians after a review by the European Commission confirmed that no funding had been obtained by Hamas and that programs would continue without any delays, they said on Tuesday. officials of the Commission.
“The review found no indication that EU money directly or indirectly benefited the terrorist organization Hamas,” Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said. Money intended for projects in Gaza that are not feasible due to the war will be “relegated to Gaza either as humanitarian aid or development aid,” Dombrovskis added.
The EU is the largest donor of international aid to the Palestinians and during the investigation 119 contracts worth 331 million euros were examined.
This revision was announced two days after the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. Olivér Várhelyi, the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, sparked a major controversy by unilaterally announcing a freeze on all EU aid to Palestine, which was opposed by the EU’s foreign affairs chief. the EU, Josep Borrell. and later Commission President Ursula von der Leyen did the same, leading Várhelyi to announce a face-saving aid budget review. He then demanded additional external controls on aid.
Várhelyi also announced that the Commission would introduce what he called additional measures, which many commissioners questioned, since the investigation revealed no problems with funds falling into the hands of the Hamas. Eleven commissioners, including Borrell’s offices, Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn and International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, questioned the idea, POLITICO reported.
POLITICO reached out to the Commission to clarify who requested additional measures and what they entail and did not immediately receive a response.
Barbara Moens contributed reporting.