The EU Tuesday called on donors to contribute more funds to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, in order to help the agency to continue its work.
"The EU strongly calls on all donors to fulfill their pledges announced at the Cairo conference on Gaza reconstruction in order to meet the immediate needs of the vulnerable households in Gaza," said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy.
He was speaking at a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, tonight on shortage of funding for UNRWA.
He also called on UNRWA to further increase its efforts to mobilise funds from non-traditional donors in order to channel their contributions via international organisations "so that we have a proper addressing of the needs of the refugees." The EU commends , stressed Hahn, the important work of the agency for the basic services to some five million Palestinian refugees.
The EU official said he is particularly impressed how the agency has been performing under increasingly difficult circumstances like in Gaza after the recent war as well as in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
He noted that EU is the largest donor to the agency and in 2014 it accounted for 34 percent of total support to UNRWA. Since 2000 the EU has provided over 1.6 billion euro to the agency's regular budget.
The EU has made a political commitment to make available 246 million euro for the general fund for UNRWA for the period 2014-16 and due to the exceptional situation in Gaza the EU has allocated an additional 30 million euro at the end of last year, he said.
"The EU strongly regrets that UNRWA had to suspend its cash assistance in Gaza which benefited tens of thousands of people to repair the damaged and destroyed homes," he said.
"We hope that the planned EU funds in the pipeline will help the financial situation of the general fund of UNRWA," he added.