EU Signs a Controversial Deal with Israel

Written by | Monday, June 9th, 2014
@Eubulletin

President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, signed a controversial EU-Israel research program with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during his state visit on Sunday (8 June). Both executives held negotiations before participating in a signing ceremony the next day. The deal will enable Israel – as the only non-European country – to take part and benefit from the EU’s Horizon 2020 scientific research program. After an extended period of talks and disputes, both sides managed to agree on a compromise in November last year to enable hi-tech companies and research institutes in Israel to join the prestigious EU program. The program is the biggest EU research and innovation program with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
The Jewish state mainly opposed to EU measures published in July 2013 forbidding funding and financial dealings with settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from January this year. The guidelines would have made Israel to recognize in a written form that settlements are not part of their territory in any future EU agreements. Yet, after lengthy talks, Tel Aviv agreed on a compromise solution in which the EU would add a provision to the agreement about the end of research funding for institutions in the West Bank, while Israel would include a statement in an appendix that it does not recognize Brussels’ July measures. EU-Israel relations have been tough for a long time due to the issue with settlements, which are believed to be illegal under international law. Moreover, Jerusalem announced recently it was planning to build another 3,000 homes, which deeply “saddened” the EU.

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