De Jong: Extending and upgrading EU-Israel trade agreement sends wrong signal

24 October 2012

De Jong: Extending and upgrading EU-Israel trade agreement sends wrong signal

The European Parliament will today almost certainly vote to upgrade and extend the trade agreement between the EU and Israel. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong will be voting against. ‘Offering Israel more trade privileges is really sending a wrong signal,’ he explains. ‘Yet this treaty would allow Israeli goods from the Occupied Territories of Palestine to be imported into Europe under the label “Made in Israel”. I proposed that the Council of Ministers issue a separate declaration that leaves these products out of the agreement and insists on effective surveillance of their provenance, but a majority in the European Parliament won’t even accept that.’

Dennis de JongThe accord includes agreements covering trade in medicines between the EU and Israel. These mean that medicines from other countries which are allowed on to the Israeli market are guaranteed access to the EU. The SP’s strongest objection to this is the possibility that medicines produced in the Occupied Territories will be labelled as products of Israel. ‘The Commission refuses to provide effective regulations to prevent medical products from the Occupied Territories being allowed on to the European market,’ says De Jong. ‘This is particularly bad, because the EU does not have a comparable agreement with Palestine, which means that Palestinian products cannot access the European market.’

The SP has long urged an end to the granting of further trade privileges to Israel by the EU. ‘As long as Israel continues to flout international treaties and transgress the most basic human rights,’ argues De Jong, ‘there should be no question of extending trade privileges.’

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