Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
61. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason for his support of the decision by European Union Foreign Ministers to renew the EU-Israel Association Council for the first time since 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46070/22]
At the Foreign Affairs Council in July, EU Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the resumption of Association Council meetings with Israel, which have not taken place since 2012. It was agreed that we should start work to determine the EU position for an Association Council meeting with Israel and that a meeting would only go ahead once an EU position was finalised.
Association Councils provide an important opportunity for the EU to engage with partners in its neighbourhood. They are provided for under the Association Agreements with the respective states. They provide a platform for deepening bilateral relationships and also for the EU to deliver, where necessary, clear collective messages on issues of concern, including with regard to human rights and international law.
In this context, an EU-Israel Association Council would be an important opportunity to discuss a range of areas of engagement and issues, including reaffirming the EU’s long-standing position on the Middle East Peace Process, its commitment to a two-State solution and the urgent need for a political horizon and a path towards relaunching a peace process.
The Council also provides an opportunity to reiterate the EU's grave concern at the continued of Palestinian territory and our strong opposition to Israel's settlement policies and increased evictions and demolitions, as well as engaging with Israel on the political situation in the wider Middle East region.