Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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. May to meet Tusk on Sunday at Arab summit
  2. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  3. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  4. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  5. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  6. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  7. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  8. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Brexit and Orban in spotlight This WEEK
  2. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  3. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  4. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  5. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  6. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  7. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  8. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us