Sami Abdel-Shafi presents the findings of a new Chatham House research paper.
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. 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.