European Parliament on Security situation in the Middle East

The European Parliament Committee on Security and Defencewill discuss the Security situation in the Middle East next Monday 25th September.

An exchange of views on the situation in the Middle East with a focus on US-Israel relations and perspectives is scheduled in the presence of experts including: 

  • Mr Marco Morettini, Deputy Head of Division for Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Regional Policies, EEAS (European External Action Service)
  • Mr Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, U.S.
  • Mr Yossi Kuperwasser, Senior Fellow, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, former Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Israel

 The debate will emphasize the need for a common strategy between the EU, US and Israel to implement talks on the peace process and setting up a common position for the security and stability of the Middle East.

HERE you can follow the live broadcast of the event from 3.00 P.M.

Foreign Ministers Discussing Middle East Peace Process

Today 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs, meeting under the framework of the Foreign Affairs Council in Bruxelles, will be discussing the recent developments in the Middle East Peace Process. Following the Paris Peace Conference as well as the US Secretary of State Peace Principles, the statement today is expected to re-state EU’s position on Israeli settlements as well as to address the latest challenges to the peace process.  

For updates on the EU common position, click HERE

The triumph of European pragmatism in the Middle East


The European Parliament will vote this coming Wednesday on the report concerning the EU’s strategy after Iran’s nuclear agreement. MEP Richard Howitt’s report passed through its first reading in the Foreign Affairs committee on the 6th of October 2016 with 38 votes for, 15 against, following consultations with the Trade Committee on the 14th of July 2016.

The resolution is steeped in European “pragmatism”, with a scent of European values and norms.  

Acknowledging Iran’s position in the Middle East, second largest economy, and in the world, the country with second largest gas reserves, the report is a classic example of European expediency when it comes to opening relations with Iran and reducing its energetic dependency on Russian gas reserves. The report calls for the opening of an EU delegation in Teheran that would facilitate and foster dialogue and trade relations, as well as for the appointment of an Iranian expert for accessing the Horizon2020, European research flagship program.

Under the regional security headline, the report falls short of condemning Iran sponsoring terrorist activities for actors like Hezbollah and Al Nusra. While “the principle of ensuring respect, safety and security for peoples in all countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian people” will be the best reference you will get for condemning the anti-semitic and Holocaust denial recurring statements of the Iranian religious and political leadership.

Here at EIPA we are deeply concerned with this tilting of balance towards the strategic interests at the expense our European values in a foreign policy trend that separates Iran’s destabilizing behaviour in the region and its human rights record from the nuclear file.

For further reading, please click HERE


On the EU agenda

Middle East peace process 170315_fac

Brussels 18 May: The European Foreign Affairs Council – made up of foreign Affairs Ministers from across the EU and High Representive Mogherini will convene to discuss the situation in the Middle East. 

Usually these meetings don’t cause too much in the way of ripples, but this one carries with it some extra spice:

 Mrs Mogherini will meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel almost immediately afterwards.

The message that she will bring with her from her EU agency and the member states will more than likely shape the short-to mid term future of EU-Israel relations. In other words, a big deal then.

In a background note prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS) ahead of both meetings Mogherini’s agency laid out some of its thinking in broad brush terms.

Mogherini congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new government on their appointment. The European Union will continue to work with Israel on a mutually beneficial relationship as well as on issues of joint interest, she said.

The note went on to state:

“The EU re-iterated its support for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that should lead to an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

A comprehensive peace should fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties, including those of Israelis for security and those of Palestinians for statehood.

The EU has a strategic interest in ensuring an end to the conflict and is willing to actively contribute to a negotiated solution of all final status issues. The EU High Representative has declared her readiness to personally engage in order to facilitate further progress. In addition, the Council appointed Fernando Gentilini as EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace process on 15 April 2015.

The EU recognises Israel in its 1967 borders and has not ceased to repeat that settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law. The EU’s concern about the fact that settlement activity increasingly threatens the very possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict has grown in the last years. At the same time, the Council has underlined the EU’s commitment to ensure full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements.

The EU is the largest aid contributor to the Palestinians, with substantial support for the benefit of the Gaza population: in the last ten years the EU has spent more than €1.3 billion in the Gaza Strip. At the donors’ conference for Gaza in October 2014, the EU and its member states pledged more than €450 million for its reconstruction.”

So far, so standard. But as we all know, the devil is in the details. We need to read between the lines.

We don’t know the shape of the political leverage that the EU is willing to bring on Israel as a price for continued settlement construction, much less what it intends to do to secure it’s “strategic interest” in the region.

 These two fundamental questions, potentially backed up by anticipated European Parliamentary resolutions on the subject, will frame the conversations and debate between the EU and Israel in the short months ahead.3