Labour MEPs condemn trade upgrade with Israel - 2012-10-24
Labour MEPs yesterday condemned the approval of a trade upgrade between the EU and Israel.
The European Parliamentary Labour Party, along with their Socialist and Democrat colleagues, voted against the proposed upgrade which would align trading "assessment standards" between European and Israeli products and boost trade for Israel, in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday. The proposal was adopted by the right-wing majority in the European Parliament.
"Unfortunately the right wing groups in the Parliament voted to bring in this trade upgrade at a time when rewarding Israel through our trade policy is hugely inappropriate," said David Martin MEP, spokesperson for Labour MEPs on international trade.
ACAA (the Protocol on the Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) will make it easier for Israelto export pharmaceutical products to the European Union. The European Parliament had previously challenged the European Commission on the checks to ensure goods from the OccupiedTerritoriescould not enter the EU under this Protocol.
"It's particularly inappropriate to give Israel easier access to the EU for pharmaceutical products while Palestinians are denied access to medicine under the blockade," said David Martin.
"Robust checks and accurate labelling are essential to ensure goods from the Occupied Territories are not imported under this agreement but regardless of this I'm opposed to any trade upgrade while Israel continues to flout international law.
"Israel's collective punishment of Gaza and the continuing expansion of the settlements are utterly unacceptable.
"Approving this Protocol is incompatible with recent European Parliament and EU declarations denouncing Israeli activity in the Occupied Territories.
"EU trade policy must be coherent with our human rights and foreign policy. We must never turn blind eye to human rights violations when considering trade upgrades," he said.
Notes for Editors
- The European 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 andIsrael. This would largely apply to pharmaceutical products.
- The International Trade committee asked an Oral Question to the Commission in July on implementation of the agreement in relation to the OccupiedTerritories: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=0&language=EN&type=OQ&reference=O-2012-000129
- The Socialist and Democrat 'rapporteur' (lead legislator) 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 debate was Tuesday 23rd October: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/plenary/video?debate=1350999794337
- The vote was held yesterday evening. The Protocol was adopted with 379 in favour and 230 against.
- The European Parliament was required to give its consent before this Protocol could come into force.
For more information please contact David Poyser on 00 32 479 790053 or firstname.lastname@example.org