23rd Mar 2018

EU working on consumer labels for Israeli settlement products

Denmark is fronting an EU initiative to help consumers boycott Israeli settlement products.

Its foreign ministry is funding an event in Brussels on 23 October to get EU diplomats and NGOs, such as Oxfam and Crisis Action, talking about EU-level guidelines for consumer labels on settlement goods.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Gun-farming on occupied land: An EU code on food labels is possible next year (Photo: Michael.Loadenthal)

The move comes after EU foreign ministers in May said they will "fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation" on the subject.

The EU says settlements are illegal. But its regular complaints about settlement expansion fall on deaf ears.

"The [October] workshop is designed to put the issue back on the agenda and to put action behind the words of the May conclusions ... We want to make it easier for consumers to vote with their wallet," a Danish diplomat told EUobserver.

France, Finland, Ireland and the UK (which imposed labels in British shops in 2009) back the initiative.

The French foreign ministry in a statement to the French senate last week said: "France is currently studying, together with several European partners, the possibility of publishing an [EU-level] code of conduct."

Finnish development minister Heidi Hautala noted on her blog in June: "Would you buy products that you know are coming from Israeli settlements? Many would not."

Swedish and British ministers Carl Bildt and Alistair Burt have also voiced sympathy.

Meanwhile, British MEPs - Chris Davies, Jill Evans, Ian Hudghton, Linda McAvan, Edward McMillan-Scott and Graham Watson - have bombarded EU institutions with questions on settlements in recent months.

For its part, the Cypriot EU presidency is doing nothing on the dossier.

And the MEPs are still waiting for answers.

But staff in the European Commission and in the European External Action Service are currently studying how existing EU law is being implemented.

Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told this website that directive 2000/13 on food labelling requires consumer labels on the "true origin" of goods.

She added that under directive 2005/29 on unfair commercial practices "indicating Israel as the origin for products produced on occupied Palestinian territories would be a misleading action" and that the commission aims to "take a more prominent role in monitoring and co-ordinating enforcement" in future.

Another EU official noted that directive 2002/178 on food contains pro-labelling provisions.

He said the issue went quiet over the summer break but work is "warming up again" in September.

He added that EU-level guidelines on labelling in individual sectors, such as food, might come out in "mid-2013." But the mixture of EU laws is so messy "it could take years" before a code of conduct on labelling of all settlement exports is ready.

He also said any code would not be legally binding on EU countries and that an EU ban on settlement imports is out of the question.

For his part, Stuart Reigeluth, an analyst at the Brussels-based NGO the Council for European Palestinian Relations, told EUobserver that "more EU member states would refuse [bogus labels] if the labelling system was clearer."

"Israel has been very clever in labelling everything as 'Made in Israel' ... [It] is clearly proceeding to integrate the settlements and thus annulling the two-state solution," he added, referring to the EU-and-US-backed model of a future Palestinian state alongside Israel.

An Israeli source said EU pressure on settlements is nothing new.

He said settlement-bashing supports the Palestinian line that settlement-building - instead of Israeli security - is the main obstacle in the peace process.

EU to boost Israel trade relations despite settlements row

The EU is today to confirm moves to strengthen economic ties with Israel, facing off criticism that trade conditions should be frozen due to the diplomatic impasse over Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

EU takes aim at Israeli settler products

EU foreign ministers have "warned" Israel they will take a tougher approach to exports originating from illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

MEPs split on EU-Israel trade deal

MEPs have set the scene for an ill-tempered debate on Israeli settlements after a committee endorsed removing trade barriers for Israeli medical products.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  2. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica
  3. Russian diplomats risk EU expulsions over UK attack
  4. Three presidents should attend Bosnia memorial
  5. Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs
  6. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  7. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  8. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections