Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Misappropriation of EU funds by Palestinian Authority is not proven

Agence Europe - 2 April 2004

After one year of research, the EP working group on direct budgetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority has not been able to prove whether or not European funds granted to the Palestinian Authority have been used to finance terrorist activities. Allegations of misappropriation of such funds by the Palestinian Authority have still not been proven.

During a press conference on Thursday in Strasbourg with several members of the working group (13 MEPs from all political groups of the European Parliament), British Conservative Charles Tannock tried to explain that "one cannot prove" these allegations but this does not mean "total acquittal" of the Palestinian Authority. Italian national Franz Turchi (UEN) and French Socialist Francois Zimeray criticised the European Commission's policy, and above all that of Commissioner Patten, and deplored the fact that there has been no committee of inquiry in this connection. The Conference of Presidents refused to create such a committee which would have been able to prove the allegations of misuse of funds, Mr Zimeray said.

These conclusions, however, are far from being shared by all members of the working group, which divided itself into two camps, each presenting a report and different interpretations. In a press release, Swedish national Jonas Sjostedt (GUE/NGL) said: "There is absolutely no proof that EU financial support was used to finance terrorist activity. On the contrary, it is very clear in my view that such allegations were used mainly to discredit the Palestinian Authority".