Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Growing pressure over EU aid to Palestinians

The Business - 19/20 January 2003

By Sarah Zebaida

THE European Union is coming under growing pressure to investigate whether the Palestinians have misused EU funds to finance terrorism. British MEP Charles Tannock started a petition last October to find out how €540m ($567m, 356m) of aid given to the Palestinians since 2000 had been spent. No accounts have yet been produced.

At the weekend, British conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith added his support for an inquiry when addressing a Jewish charity in London. So far 140 MEPs have signed the petition 17 short of the number required for a debate in the EU parliament. EU commissioner Chris Patten persuaded 12 MEPs on the list to withdraw. Patten says he has seen no evidence of misuse of EU money by the Palestinians.