Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Reports of the E.P. on the Direct Budgetary Assistance to the Palestinian Authority

2nd April 2004

The Working Group report into alleged abuse of EU funds paid directly (a sum of 246 million over two years) as cash aid to the Palestinian Authority which was set up by the European Parliament, has been published. But it has not conclusively established if any money has actually been diverted to terrorist groups or fraud. Two contradictory Majority and Minority Reports were published by a 7 - 6 vote. Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament and a full member of the Working Group and co-author of the minority report said:

"This has been a partial whitewash, as the Working Group Majority Report has chosen to ignore signed payment orders by Chairman Arafat to the tune of $39,000 to people linked to terrorist activities or their families on the basis that these are circumstantial evidence only and do not prove anything as payment can not actually have been shown to have taken place."

This Working Group did however conclude that the repeated statement from the European Commission that the IMF had 'fully monitored the use of the funds' is not correct.

However, both reports make strong recommendations to further tighten the financial control mechanisms within the reforms being undertaken by the Minister of Finance. As a result of this inquiry it is to be hoped that more money will get to the ordinary Palestinian people as intended, as more safeguards will be put in place to scrutinise the money.