The European Union (EU) will shortly make a decision on the labelling of products from Israeli settlements in West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Walla! News reports. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said yesterday at the end of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, "The work is close to being finished but it is still ongoing."
Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, was quoted by Reuters as saying in a press conference, "We have to make sure that consumers can distinguish products that come from territories occupied by Israel. We are just applying international rules." Asselborn said he expected the matter to be resolved by the end of this year, but with the EU rocked by other problems, such as the refugees pushing for entry across its borders, it is not certain that this timetable will be met.
The matter has been a subject of discussion between the EU member countries for years, but Mogherini's statement has aroused international interest because it represents the first time in months that she has said anything about it. Some individual EU countries, such as the UK, have already introduced legislation designed to let consumers know which Israeli products come from beyond the Green Line.
Mogherini's declaration of intent to take action on the matter is part of a broader move by the EU to restore the Israel-Palestinian dispute to the international agenda. According to Mogherini, the way forward is to involve Arab countries in the process. "We have worked together with our partners in the Quartet, namely with the UN, with the US I was speaking with John Kerry yesterday and with Russia, to prepare a new start of the Quartet. We will have a Quartet principals/foreign ministers meeting together with Ban Ki Moon - at the margins of the UN General Assembly later this month where we have invited the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
"This is not irrelevant, because we have to build partnerships and a common work in the region, and our region is also the Mediterranean and the Middle East. To make sure that the Middle East Peace Process’s engine could be restarted, after more than one year of stalling, is also one way for us to contribute to a better understanding and a better sense of cooperation between Europe and the Arab World, the whole Middle East," she said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 6, 2015
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