Saturday

3rd Dec 2022

MEPs back free trade with Palestinian territories

Eurodeputies in a key parliamentary committee have unanimously backed giving duty-free access to Palestinian goods.

Voting 27-0 in the international trade committee on Wednesday, MEPs backed a pending agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority that would allow farms and fisheries access to the European market.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas (Photo: European Parliament - Audiovisual Unit)

Though trade between the bloc and the Palestinian territories is tiny - amounting to just €6.1 million from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 2009, MEPs hope that the move will boost exports and begin to develop the Palestinian Authority.

"The future of the region depends on the improvement of the economic development,” said Socialist deputy Maria Eleni Koppa said of the vote. “Trade can serve also as a development mechanism that contributes to the reduction of poverty and the establishment of political stability.”

The unanimity in the committee suggests that the measures, which would be valid for ten years, will receive a friendly hearing when the full sitting of the house votes on the deal in late September in Strasbourg.

If passed, the measures would enter into force before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday issued a call for European states to speak with “one voice” when the United Nations General Assembly votes on whether to recognise Palestinian statehood later this month.

"The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice," he told an annual meeting of French ambassadors.

Israeli diplomats have been heavily lobbying EU capitals not to welcome Palestinian independence at the UN, arguing that this must come about through negotiation and not unilateral moves. The Jewish state hopes to achieve a similar division amongst European powers as occurred in 2009? when Kosovo declared independence.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is to discuss the issue on Friday (2 September) with the bloc’s foreign ministers.

Tension, confusion behind EU facade on Palestine

Hostility toward foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, confusion over what the Palestinians will ask for at the UN and how major EU countries will react marked behind-closed-doors talks of EU ministers in Poland.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us