EU-Israel Association Council: huge potential to develop cooperation

There is huge potential to develop cooperation and dialogue between the EU and Israel, the Hungarian Foreign Minister has said after a session of the EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels, on Tuesday, 22 February.
The meeting was chaired by Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi, standing in for Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who was in Egypt. Hungary currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Association Council was attended by Commissioner Štefan Füle, and on Israel’s behalf, Avigdor Liberman, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
“We have discussed how further to develop our cooperation and dialogue,” Martonyi told a joint news conference after the session. “The potential for this is huge. The EU is committed to move forward in our interest and common policy areas of the current action plan that remains to date unexplored. We will develop jointly with our Israeli partners the initiatives that look more promising in this context, and we will engage in technical talks in order to identify areas for future potential cooperation.”
Describing relations between the EU and Israel as a “solid and vibrant partnership”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said the peace process was crucial – “we are convinced that progress on the peace process is more imperative and more urgent then ever before,” he said, pointing to the “dramatic” political and social changes in the Middle East.
In response to a journalist’s question, he said the EU-Israeli relationship also had critical elements, included in the EU’s Declaration after the Association Council. The Declaration primarily mentions the respect of the rights of Israel’s Arab minority, as mentioned by Commissioner Füle at the press conference.
Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle said he was keen to strengthen the EU Israel political dialogue, “including the sector dialogue where we have made a lot of progress”. He added: “Progress has been made also in areas ranging from trade to agriculture, internal market, police and judicial cooperation, besides of course a strong ongoing partnership on research and development.”
The Israeli Foreign Minister described the talks as “very friendly”, and praised the EU as Israel’s largest commercial partner. Avigdor Liberman underlined the need to reinforce the economy in the region’s countries, and said, “Israel is the only strategic partner for the EU” within the region. (ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Hungarian Presidency press release
European Commission extracts from the joint press conference
Press conference videos
Tenth Meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council Statement of the European Union
ENPI Info Centre webpage – Israel
EU Delegation in Israel – website and Facebook page


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