Monday

10th Dec 2018

Spanish foreign minister backs 'virtual membership' for Israel

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos has said the EU should offer Israel a privileged partnership, offering all the benefits of EU membership, without participation in the institutions.

Mr Moratinos – formerly the EU’s representative in the Middle East – told an audience in Tel Aviv on Thursday that current links between the EU and Israel are not enough.

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"If Turkey is going to receive the green light to start negotiations for full integration into the EU, Israel should obtain the same benefits, with the single difference that we respect that Israel will not become a full member of the Union", he said.

Mr Moratinos backed a partnership with Israel which is more than the Association Agreement which currently governs relations.

The EU and Israel are currently locked in talks to negotiate a new agreement under the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy.

However, that agreement stops well short of what ex-Commission President Romano Prodi described as "everything but institutions", offering all the benefits of the EU except representation in the Council, Commission and Parliament.

Mr Moratinos’ proposal appears to take up Mr Prodi’s interpretation.

He backed full Israeli participation in the EU’s internal market as well as free movement of citizens.

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