Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

Spanish MEP asks EU leadership to re-establish meeting of EU-Israel Association Council which has not convened since 2012

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‘’Israel has been a strategic ally of the European Union, even before the signature in 1995 of the association agreement between the two, though unfortunately the association council, which this agreement envisions, has not held a formal meeting since 2012,’’ wrote Antonio López-Istúriz White in his questions to the EU leaders.

He regretted that ‘’some Member States are fixed on blocking the celebration of these meetings, as a way of boycotting Israel due to the country´s policy vis-a-vis to Palestine.’’

The EU-Israel Association Council, the main ministerial body governing the EU-Israel Association Council, has not met since 2012 due to disagreements over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite intense bilateral cooperation in several sectors such as trade, technology, science, security, culture, education… Several European Commissioners have visited Israel. 

The Association Council was originally created in the framework of the 2000 EU-Israel Association Council to be convened every year. Generally, it is held at Foreign Minister level.

But no EU-Israel ministerial meeting since eight years while since then the EU has convened Association Councils with Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt almost yearly.

This is why the Chairman of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel,  Spanish MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White has addressed questions to both the EU Council President Charles Michel and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on this issue, urging the re-establishment of the EU-Israel Association Council under the new EU leadership.

‘’Israel has been a strategic ally of the European Union, even before the signature in 1995 of the association agreement between the two, though unfortunately the association council, which this agreement envisions, has not held a formal meeting since 2012,’’ wrote López-Istúriz in his questions to the EU leaders.

He regretted that ‘’some Member States are fixed on blocking the celebration of these meetings, as a way of boycotting Israel due to the country´s policy vis-a-vis to Palestine.’’

He added: ‘’Instead of sitting at the table to discuss and find solutions and political agreements, these Member States prefer simply to veto EU-Israel bilateral talks, something clearly harming the advancement of EU-Israel relations, as well as the path towards peace and understanding in the region.’’

López-Istúriz, who is also Secretary General of the European People’s Party (PPE), the largest political group in the EU parliament, stressed that recent developments and rise of tensions in the Middle East ‘’make the need for fluid dialogue with Israel essential.’’

‘’The EU’s renewed leadership and the changes in many national governments is the perfect opportunity to resume contacts with all Member States and push for a new Association Council meeting and improve our relations with Israel,’’ he said.

He asked Josep Borrell and Charles Michel to work in order to build consensus and re-establish new EU-Israel meetings within the framework of the Association Council.

The President of the EU-Israel delegation has assured that “the EU-Israel Association Council is a good meeting place ‘’since it aims to ensure political dialogue between both parties.’’

Our comment:

The EU shouldn’t not wait longer  to start writing a new page in its relations with Israel, a country which is after all is the one and only democracy in the region…  Because the EU has a lot to learn from Israel and shares with this country a lot of values….

 

 

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