Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

EU seeks code on Israeli settler goods by end of 2013

Foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton wants an EU code on retail labels of Israeli settlement products by the end of the year.

She said in a letter to seven fellow members of the European Commission dated 8 July and seen by Israeli daily Haaretz that: "The guidelines could be adopted as a non-binding commission notice and published in the Official Journal of the EU before the end of 2013."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

She noted: "I would highly appreciate your support for a political commitment of the college [of all 28 EU commissioners] as a whole and for all further efforts needed from your services."

The seven commissioners named in the letter - Viviane Reding, Antonio Tajani, Neven Mimica, Dacian Ciolos, Algirdas Semeta, Karel de Gucht and Michel Barnier - deal with portfolios ranging from consumer protection to anti-fraud.

Ashton noted that EU institutions in January completed a review of existing EU law on the subject.

Apart from the non-binding code of conduct on all products, the review said there should be "mandatory" labels on cosmetics, agricultural produce and some "non-food" items made by settler firms.

The project stems from an EU member states' agreement in May last year to "effectively implement" EU legislation in the area.

A group of 13 EU countries in a letter in April pledged political support for going ahead.

The group includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.

Three of them - Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK - already have domestic guidelines.

Two retailers in the Netherlands - Aldi and Hoogvliet - earlier recently settler goods altogether in order not to confuse their customers.

Ashton's end-of-year deadline for the EU labelling code comes after last week said it will no longer give grants to Israeli entities which are established on occupied land.

The move prompted a furious reaction by Israeli politicians, including accusations of European "anti-Semitism."

At the same time, the EU's decision on Monday to blacklist the military wing of Lebanese group Hezbollah - Israel's fiercest enemy in the region - drew Israeli praise.

The various EU moves come amid a US effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

EU foreign ministers on Monday said they "will give active and concrete support to help ensure negotiations between the parties are successful."

But in a nod to settlements, they also said they will "address all issues that put the viability of the two-state solution at risk."

Some analysts believe the EU's tough line on settlements and its Hezbollah decision are linked to the US initiative, with Europe trying to goad and cajole the two sides into serious talks.

But EU diplomats dismissed the idea on Monday.

"They are all separate issues, they are not connected," one contact told EUobserver.

Israel over the past year approved 6,600 new housing units for settlers, while demolishing 535 Palestinian-owned structures on Palestinian land.

More than half a million Jewish settlers now live on land conquered by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

News in Brief

  1. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  2. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  3. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  4. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week
  5. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  6. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  7. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  8. European Union returns to 2 percent growth

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference