EU-Israel Association Council to be revived after a decade

European Union foreign ministers unanimously voted in Brussels  to revive a high-level dialogue with Israel.

The EU-Israel Association Council is a body established by the European states in 1995, meant to ensure dialogue and strengthen relations between the countries.

However, the council has not met since 2012. Israel canceled its 2013 meeting in protest over an EU decision to differentiate between settlements and the rest of Israel in all agreements. In addition, several EU states did not agree to hold a council meeting each of the following years, beginning after Operation Protective Edge in 2014, in protest over policies toward the Palestinians. Some states called for more progress on peace with the Palestinians before moving toward closer EU-Israel ties.

“The position of the EU has not changed with respect to the Middle East peace process, and we will continue… supporting the two-state solution,” said EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, at the end of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

A date has not yet been set for the EU-Israel Association Council meeting, but it will take place after member states “determine a common EU position,” Borrell said. He added that they will not necessarily wait until after the election on November 1, or for a new government to be formed after that.

Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that “the fact that the 27 foreign ministers of the European Union voted unanimously to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties with Israel roofed Israel’s diplomatic power and the government’s ability to create new opportunities with the international community.”

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