Thursday, 30 September 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
60. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to the registration on 8 September 2021 by the EU Commission of a European Citizens' Initiative (details supplied), if he will raise at EU level the potential for an EU-wide ban on the importation of goods from the occupied territories. [47066/21]
I am aware of the European Citizens’ Initiative to which the Deputy refers. Following its registration, the European Commission has six months in which to consider the initiative and any potential proposals arising from it.
Ireland has previously raised at EU level the question of whether goods from occupied territories, including from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, should be excluded from the EU market altogether. However, it is clear that at present there is no possibility of getting substantial support, still less consensus, for such a proposal.
We have therefore instead focused our advocacy on practical measures to differentiate in EU policies between Israel itself and the illegal settlements. This has resulted in a number of EU measures already, including guidelines on the labelling of settlement goods (so that consumers can identify them and make their own choices in this matter), and exclusion of settlement institutions from EU research funding.
Settlement goods are already excluded from the normal lower tariffs applying to goods from Israel and other countries with which the EU has trade agreements, when they are imported into the EU.
I have directed my officials to continue to explore further such options, as well as the potential for them to gain support from EU partners.