PA presented with European Neighborhood Policy Country Progress Report 2013 for Palestine – EU press release/Non-UN document

Launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy

2013 Progress Report for Palestine

Today the EU Representative, Mr. John Gatt-Rutter presented to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Riad Al Malki, the 2013 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) progress report for Palestine. In its annual Progress Reports, the European Union takes stock of progress on reform by countries within the ENP and identifies areas where further efforts are needed. The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy first published the annual “neighbourhood package” on March 2014 which includes progress reports on the EU's closest neighbours.

"In 2013 the EU and the Palestinian Authority agreed to deepen relations on the basis of an agreed agenda for reform over five years – the ENP Action Plan. This sets out reform priorities in all areas of EU-Palestinian cooperation. It also lays down the foundation for deeper EU –Palestinian relations. The 2013 progress report is the first annual assessment of steps taken to implement these agreed reform measures" said the EU Representative, Mr John Gatt-Rutter. "The single most significant development in 2013 was the return to direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis thereby renewing hope of a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict. It has also created new opportunities for deepening the EU's relations with both parties. In December the European Foreign Affairs Council announced that, in the context of a final status agreement, the EU is ready to offer a Special Privileged Partnership to both parties. Such a partnership would bring substantial economic, trade and other benefits to both", he added.

The report acknowledges that the Israeli occupation and the restrictions it imposes are significant hindrances to Palestinian economic development and remain the biggest obstacle to reforms, especially as regards the PA's financial sustainability. The lack of progress in intra-Palestinian reconciliation also remains a major challenge. Nevertheless it recognises that there is scope for the Palestinian Authority to accelerate reforms in areas within its control notably as regards the civil service and pensions, justice and security as well as conditions in Palestinian prisons. It also highlights the need to create an enabling environment for journalists and take further steps to address violence against women.

In Gaza, the right to freedom of expression continued to deteriorate and operations of civil society were restricted by the de-facto authorities.

A major achievement in the course of 2013 was the finalisation of the comprehensive National Export Strategy (NES), formulated in partnership between the private and public sectors through an EU-funded project. The NES proposes comprehensive measures for export development and the competitiveness of Palestinian products in key sectors. The Anti-Corruption Commission continued to function effectively, with an increasing number of cases being investigated and referred to the judiciary.

Read full report here in English and Arabic

Contacts: The Office of the European Union Representative:

Antonia Zafeiri (02 5415 859, 0548 024 915) & Shadi Othman (02 5415 867, 0599 673 958)


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