Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Misuse of EU Funds

The Daily Telegraph - January 28th 2003

Sir

In her letter about EU money being used to fund terrorism, the European Commission spokesman (Jan. 22) suggests that there is nothing to be concerned about the EU payments to the Palestinian Authority, since Israel is also making them.

I have been informed by the Israeli government that it has only just agreed to a trilateral accord between America, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which sets up a new mechanism for transferring money, with new financial controls, under a single fund controlled by the new Palestinian minister of finance, who is of unquestioned integrity. The EU, on the other hand, has been making direct payments to the Palestinian Authority since June 2001.

My initiative to raise signatures in support of a European parliamentary committee of inquiry, with statutory powers and resources, into how this money has been spent has obtained support from almost a quarter of a parliament normally dominated by anti-Israel sentiment.

This shows the level of concern over this matter, though, sadly, not a single British Labour or Liberal MEP has signed.

Chris Patten, EU commissioner for external relations, has welcomed the suggestion of an ad hoc committee to investigate this matter. Although this is a step in the right direction, a full committee of inquiry would be preferable.

Dr Charles Tannock MEP (Cons)

Foreign Affairs spokesman