Monday

27th Mar 2017

Probe into claims that EU funds were transferred to terrorists

The EU anti-fraud office Olaf and the Belgian police are investigating claims that EU funds may have been channelled to a Palestinian militant group responsible for the deaths of scores of people in suicide bombings.

The investigations follow claims that money earmarked for aid was paid to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades through Belgian and German affiliate organisations.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Olaf says it has found no evidence so far (Photo: European Commission)

The Independent reported that the inquiry began in Aachen, Germany, but also involves an organisation based in Verviers, eastern Belgium.

The allegation is that groups asked for EU subsidies for an immigration project but that the money was then transferred towards Al-Aqsa, which is on the EU’s list of banned terrorist organisations.

No evidence so far

A spokesperson for Olaf told the EUobserver that at the moment no evidence has been found to substantiate these claims.

This probe, which was first reported in the German magazine Stern, is one of several being conducted by the Belgian authorities into the funding of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the Independent said.

The Belgian Federal Court, however, could not comment on the current investigations.

The Commission spokesperson for external relations on the other hand said the Commission is "the first one with an interest to make sure that no EU funding is diverted to support terrorist organisations".

Investigations since February

MEPs expressed concerns at the beginning of the year that EU budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority may have been directed to fund terrorist activities. Last February, Olaf opened an investigation into these allegations.

The European Parliament also set up at that time a working group to investigate these claims but sources said that no evidence has been produced so far.

In April, the Commission announced changes to the way in which it provides aid to the Palestinian Authority, while denying claims that the changes were prompted by these allegations.

The Commission decided to supply 80 million euro each year specifically for the Authority to repay debts owed to small private enterprises and social services with the addition of 10 million to aid the peace process.

Previously, funding from the EU was not earmarked for specific projects and went into the central Palestinian budget.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

Poland isolated in bid to remove Tusk

Poland appears increasingly isolated in Brussels as it seeks public support to unseat Donald Tusk as president of the European Council.

French candidates avoid EU debate

In their first TV debate, the main candidates for the April election only briefly discussed the country's EU policies, with far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron taking aim at each other.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change