Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with visiting European Union President José Manuel Barroso in Jerusalem on Monday to oversee the signing of a new water and energy cooperation deal.
The high-level talks focused on expanding economic and technological cooperation between the EU and Israel, but also included a discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue and on the possible resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
On hand were Shaul Zemach, director general of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, and Dominique Ristori, director of the EU’s Joint Research Center, who together signed a cooperation agreement between the EU and Israel in the realm of water and energy technological development.
“I think this is a very important milestone in Israel’s relations with the EU,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is a technological country. Europe is our main trading partner. Europe is an advanced society; we’re an advanced society. We’re in a decade, in a century, of innovations and the more we cooperate, the more it will benefit our societies.”
President Barroso, who visited Palestinian leader Salaam Fayad in Ramallah on Sunday, said, “I’m looking forward to deepening the good cooperation between Israel and the European Union in all fields. I took this occasion to express the European Union’s commitment to Israel, to Israel living in peace. We are, as you know, in favor of a two-state solution. I really think it’s a good moment to re-start some hope regarding the Middle East peace process.”
It was Barroso’s first visit to Israel.