MEP Slams Possible EU-Israel Agreement Upgrade

01 April 2010
Alyn Smith MEP has today reiterated his opposition to moves to upgrade the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The subject of upgrading the current agreement was discussed at the last informal meeting of European Foreign Affairs Ministers last month. Although the resolution proposing the upgrade was eventually voted down, it remains a priority of the Spanish EU Council Presidency.

Smith, who visited Palestine earlier this year to see first hand the situation in Gaza, branded any upgrade to the agreement as unthinkable until the Israeli government abides by the international commitments it has made towards the welfare of the Palestinian people and makes demonstrable progress towards a just peace.

Smith said:

"Any move to upgrade the current Association Agreement is absolutely unthinkable while Israel continues to unashamedly flout international law and ignore human rights in the Palestinian territories.

"How can it be possible that there are those within the EU pushing to upgrade the Association Agreement, thereby enhancing Israel economically, commercially and socially, while the Palestinians are daily being persecuted?

"An upgrade would send completely the wrong signals to what seems to be an increasingly uncompromising Israeli government, encouraging the belief that they can get away with any action they take, without putting their relationship with the EU at risk.

"If the EU is going to set down strict rules and regulations in accordance with any agreement, then they must be adhered to and until they are, no upgrade should be considered."