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Brussels, 20 March 2013
ENP Country Progress Report 2012 – Israel
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on 20 March 2013 the annual “neighbourhood package”, consisting of a joint communication (“Working Towards a Stronger Partnership”) making an assessment of the ENP implementation in 2012, a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity” with Southern Mediterranean, an Eastern Partnership progress report, 12 country reports (on developments in 2012 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Israel, and a statistical annex.
Although the EU consensus on freezing the upgrade of EU-Israel relations remained unchanged, an effort was made in 2012 to inject greater dynamism in the partnership. Work that had been carried out since April 2011 under the technical talks between Israeli ministries, the EEAS and Commission services was completed in 2012 and endorsed by the EU-Israel Association Council.
The EU continued to encourage both the Israelis and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and led efforts to reinvigorate the Quartet. In the 14 May Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution and expressed grave concern about developments on the ground, which threaten to make it impossible.
Reforms initiated, carried out successfully, or delayed during 2012 in the different areas of cooperation between the EU and Israel are described in the annual country report. Some of the issues reported deserve special attention. In the political area, women’s rights continued to be the subject of debate as a result of a more aggressive attitude of the ultra-Orthodox groups. Progress on the situation of the Arab minority was limited. As regards trade-related issues, the EU-Israel Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA) entered into force in the beginning of 2013. In the area of irregular migration and asylum, Israel started implementing the new Anti-Infiltration law which substantially increased the sanctions for migrants who had irregularly entered Israeli territory. An increasing number of Israeli students and researchers benefited from different European programmes in the education area.
Concerning the situation in the occupied territories, a major escalation of violence between armed groups in Gaza and Israel took place in November, leading to the death of more than 160 Palestinians and five Israelis. After the UN General Assembly vote granting to Palestine the non-member observer State status in the United Nations, Israel announced the increase of the construction of settlements in the West Bank, and the withhold of the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues. This Israeli reaction was widely criticised by the international community, including by the EU.
EU–Israel – BACKGROUND
The European Neighbourhood Policy governs the relations between the EU and Israel.
2000: EU-Israel Association Agreement entered into force
2005: EU-Israel Action Plan was approved.
2008: Launch of the Union for the Mediterranean.
FACTS AND FIGURES
2007-2010: The ENPI1 financial contribution for Israel was earmarked at EUR 8 million, initially divided into four yearly EUR 2 million instalments. This was reduced in 2009 to EUR 1.5 million, reflecting problems in absorption capacity by the Israeli government.
2011-2013: The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) envelope for Israel under the National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2011-2013 has been earmarked at EUR 6 million. The NIP is geared towards supporting the achievement of key policy objectives, as outlined in the EU-Israel Action Plan, and pursues the approximation of Israeli norms and standards with those of the EU.
2012: Meetings of the EU-Israel Association Committee and EU-Israel Association Council.
More info at:
the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument