Europe and the Palestinian Economy: Time for a Rethink?
Sami Abdel-Shafi, Academy Associate, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House (via video link)
Yossi Mekelberg, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development, UK (2010-12)
Chair: Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
The EU has spent an average of $1 billion per year on aid to the Palestinian territories over the past two decades but the region’s economy remains extremely weak as spending has focused on sustenance, rather than productive economic development.
Sami Abdel-Shafi will present the findings of a new Chatham House research paper in which he argues that EU economic assistance to Palestine has failed, having been too closely tied to a dysfunctional and stalled peace process. While emphasizing the importance of political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, he will propose a series of steps that could be taken to decouple economic assistance from the political process, support a genuinely productive Palestinian economy and address soaring rates of unemployment. The panel will discuss future options for EU economic and political policies towards Palestine, considering the options in the context of the EU’s ongoing European Neighbourhood Policy review.