Press Releases EU-Israel Association Council: Opening remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell

EU-Israel Association Council: Opening remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell

Dear Prime Minister [of Israel, Yair Lapid], dear Minister [of Intelligence of Israel, Elazar] Stern, dear Ministers, thank you for attending this meeting. Welcome.

I know that you have just celebrated the Jewish New Year and that the most important holiday, Yom Kippur, is coming up tomorrow. Allow me to wish you a “Good Final Sealing”, and thank you for attending this meeting even [though] it has to be done by videoconference with you. We understand the special circumstances in which you are living.

Today, we are meeting for the 12th EU-Israel Association Council. I would be even happier if you were with us here, in Brussels, but as I said, we fully understand the reasons that kept you at home. And thank you and welcome to Minister Stern who is here with us today.

Thus, we can proceed with this Association Council. It is the first after 10 years – the previous one was in July 2012.

I think it is important for us to relaunch this high-level form of political dialogue between the European Union and Israel. It is the best way of frankly engaging on many issues, which are of mutual concern and, in particular, on the [Middle East] Peace Process and on the stability in the wider Middle East region.

On the international stage, we need to work together to tackle global challenges, and recently, on the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine. Nowadays, cooperation between democracies is more crucial than ever.

Today, we will discuss how we can develop further our partnership and cooperation and take the full potential of our relations in the bilateral, regional and global domain.

But as I said, we will also deal with one issue of particular importance for us which is the Middle East Peace Process.  Prime Minister, we are very encouraged by the clear support for the two-state solution that you stated in your speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

We are – however – also concerned about the continued tensions and violence on the ground and the continuation of unilateral measures, such as settlement expansion, and the security issues.

This year is the year in which there has been the highest number of Palestinian deaths since 2007, and the forced transfers continue.

This is something that we have to talk [about]. And the best way of looking for solutions is to have these frank and open discussions among us.

We want to discuss also the normalisation of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbours. We believe that this can make a major contribution to enhancing regional stability and have a positive impact on the prospects for resuming the Middle East Peace Process.

And with these introductory words and with this initial exchange, Prime Minister, the floor is yours.

Link to the video: https://newsroom.consilium.europa.eu/events/20221003-eu-israel-association-council-october-2022/136872-1-opening-remarks-part-1-20221003

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