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EU Commission: no funding for UNWRA until investigation on involvement in October 7 massacres

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The EU Commission spokesperson has insisted that independent external experts be appointed by the EU” to audit the UN agency in order to strengthen control systems designed to prevent staff from taking part in terrorist activities.

The European Commission said Monday it has currently no funding foreseen to UNWRA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, until the end of February and in the meantime is asking the UN body to carry on the investigation which it has announced following allegations that several of its staff members in the Gaza Strip were involved in the October 7 massacres in southern Israel in which more than 1,200 Israelis were killed.

In a statement, the EU said it would “re-examine” its support for UNRWA, following the allegations. It said it ‘will determine future funding decisions for UNRWA in the light of the very serious allegations.”

“We first ask the organization to carry out the investigation it has itself announced, and we then ask it to agree to an audit by independent experts to be selected by the Commission,” said Eric Mamer, the EU Commission’s chief spokesman, at Monday’s daily briefing.

The EU spokesperson insisted that independent external experts be appointed by the EU” to audit the agency in order to strengthen control systems designed to prevent staff from taking part in terrorist activities.

“We expect UNRWA to authorize this independent audit,” he added.

According to the US State Department, the allegations concern twelve employees of UNWRA.

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One of them is accused of kidnapping a woman, while another is alleged to have taken part in an attack on a kibbutz that left 97 people dead, according to the New York Times.

Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy, said on social media X that there would be “no status quo” following the allegations and that UNRWA would be asked to audit its control systems and review its protection mechanisms for EU funding.

Seven EU member states, including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, have already announced that they will cease funding UNRWA pending an investigation.

The EU is the main donor of humanitarian and development aid to Gaza. It has quadrupled its humanitarian aid disbursements to over 100 million euros since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in October. Much of this money is channelled through UNRWA

The EU Commission spokesperson reaffirmed that its humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip would continue “unabated” through partner organizations.

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