Labour MEPs call for Israel trade updates to be halted - 2012-07-06
Labour MEPs warned the European Commission this week that any upgrade to trade relations with Israel is unacceptable while Israel continues to flout international law.
MEPs were responding to a Commission proposal to give Israel easier access to the EU market for its pharmaceutical products. The European Parliament asked the Commission this week for guarantees that products from Israeli-occupied territories would not benefit from this scheme.
Labour's European spokesperson for international trade, David Martin MEP, warned that any upgrade for Israel is premature.
"It's particularly inappropriate to allow easier access to the EU market for Israeli pharmaceutical products when Palestinians struggle for medical supplies under the Israeli-imposed blockade," he said.
"It's vital that products from the occupied territories do not enter the EU market under this agreement
"But even with these guarantees, it's inappropriate to grant Israel these preferences just now".
The Socialist and Democrat Group has proposed that the European Parliament delays a vote on the agreement for 2 years to give Israel more time to comply with international law.
"The collective punishment of Gaza is unacceptable" David Martin added.
"The EU cannot turn a blind eye to human rights violations when we sign trade deals."
Notes for Editors
The Commission proposal is a Protocol to the existing Euro-Mediterranean Agreement which would eliminate technical barriers and align assessment standards for industrial products in the EU and Israel. This would largely apply to pharmaceutical products.
The International Trade committee asked an Oral Question to the Commission this week on implementation of the agreement in relation to the Occupied Territories: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=0&language=EN&type=OQ&reference=O-2012-000129
The International Trade committee is now due to vote on the proposal after the summer recess. The Socialist and Democrat 'rapporteur' (lead legislator) has recommended a 2 year delay on the final consent vote: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bCOMPARL%2bPE-483.808%2b01%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN
The European Parliament must give its consent before this Protocol can come into force.
For more information please contact David Poyser Mobile /GSM 00 32 479790053