Tuesday

26th May 2020

Ashton predecessors urge firm line on Israel

  • Gush Etzion settlement: the letter says Israeli actions, not EU guidelines, threaten to wreck the peace process (Photo: ☪yrl)

Fifteen former high-ranking EU officials and politicians have urged the Union not to bow to Israeli and US requests to alter new rules on settler funding.

They said in a letter, sent on Monday (16 September) to EU foreign ministries and to EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton, that Israel's claims the rules will harm peace talks are not true.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They noted that Palestinians resumed the talks, in part, because the EU rules gave them confidence.

"Their strict application serves to re-iterate that the EU does not recognise and will not support settlements and other illegal facts on the ground … which threaten to make a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible," the letter says.

"A delay or suspension of the guidelines ... would undermine the negotiations by alienating the Palestinians and by reinforcing Israel’s intransigence," it notes.

"It would [also] damage the EU’s credibility and erode its vital foundations as a law-based community," it adds.

Signatories include four former EU foreign relations chiefs: Javier Solana, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Hans van den Broek and Frans Andriessen.

They also include Miguel Moratinos, a former Spanish foreign minister and EU special envoy on the peace process.

Former Dutch and Irish leaders, Andreas Van Agt and John Bruton, former French foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, and former Portuguese foreign minister, Teresa Patricio Gouveia, signed the letter as well.

The EU in July published guidelines which force Israeli institutions and firms to sign contracts pledging not to use EU money to fund activity on Palestinian land.

Israel has given up on trying to get the rules deleted.

But it says it will not join EU projects, such as the Horizon 2020 science scheme, unless the Union drafts agreements which do not force it to acknowledge EU-and-UN-recognised borders.

Talks on Horizon 2020 in Brussels last week ended without a solution.

But the European Commission said the two sides identified "options" which might make it easier for Israel to swallow the new funding regime.

This article was altered at 12.20pm Brussels time on 16 September after three more signatories joined the original 12 names

News in Brief

  1. Johnson: Shops in UK will reopen on 15 June
  2. German doctors: Summer holidays could cause second wave
  3. EU forced to choose between China and US: Borrell
  4. Spain to lift two-week arrival quarantine from July
  5. Germany gives Lufthansa €9bn bailout for equity stake
  6. Volkswagen ordered to pay in landmark 'dieselgate' case
  7. 40 million health workers urge more G20 investment
  8. Jourova: Budget rule-of-law link 'more needed than ever'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Latest News

  1. How Kaczyński ruined Poland, judges tell MEPs
  2. EU data protection rules abused to censor media
  3. Draft EU 'green recovery' plan amid clash over natural gas
  4. Clock is ticking: 300,000 vs 3.3m Covid-19 Africa deaths?
  5. Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK
  6. EU and UK stumbling into Irish border crisis
  7. Malta patrol boat 'intimidates' capsized migrants
  8. How coronavirus might hit EU defence spending

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us