Jul 05 2012
An Upgrade to trade relations with Israel totally unacceptable
The European Commission is proposing a protocol to the Euro-Med Agreement with Israel that would give Israel easier access to the EU market for exporting pharmaceutical products.
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.
I am opposed to this move for very good reasons. We cannot turn blind eyes to human rights violations when we sign trade deals. Before the vote in the International Trade Committee (INTA), of which I am a member, the Parliament asked the Commission for guarantees that products from the occupied territories would not benefit from this scheme and Labour MEPs warned the European Commission that any upgrade to trade relations with Israel is unacceptable while Israel continues to flout international law.
While many parliamentary groupings considered this a ‘technical upgrade’ I am adamant that this was in fact a clear upgrade of trade relations with Israel and incompatible with recent European Parliament declarations denouncing the abuse of human rights in the occupied territories.
The EU – Israel Association Agreement requires relations between the EU and Israel to be based on the respect for human rights. The EU cannot turn a blind eye to human rights violations when we sign trade deals. It would be especially galling to allow easier access to the EU market for Israeli pharmaceutical products when Palestinians struggle for medical supplies under the Israeli-imposed blockade.
An upgrade to this Agreement would be inappropriate at this time. It is 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
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.
I support a two-year delay on the Parliament vote.
See my contribution to the debate during the July Strasbourg Plenary at: http://www.martinmep.com/david-speaking-on-the-caa-july-2012-strasbourg-plenary