Wednesday

29th Mar 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."

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.

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.

Analysis

Lukashenka: End of an era?

The political spring in Belarus ended just as the actual season began, but greater changes loom after 23 years of dictatorship.

News in Brief

  1. Support for Germany's anti-EU party fading
  2. Turkish intelligence not welcome in Germany
  3. US senate approves Montenegro’s Nato bid
  4. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  5. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  6. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  7. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal
  8. EU majority against GM crops, but not enough to block them

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans