The European Union is refusing to back down on its decision to put identifying labels on exports from the West Bank, even though Israel has frozen some of its contacts with the bloc on Middle East peace issues.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said — following talks with foreign ministers Monday — that the EU is “united on these technical guidelines on the indication of origin, which is in no way a boycott.
“Let me add two short points that were not part of the discussion or of the agenda, but were still debated among us,” Mogherini added, following a Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
“One is related to the Middle East peace process, especially after the adoption of the technical guidelines on indication of origin. We had an exchange of views in this respect with the ministers, and we commonly decided that it was important also for me to pass this message publicly that the Council and the European Union stay united on these technical guidelines on indication of origin, which is in no way a boycott and should in no way be interpreted as one,” she said.
“The second thing on which the Council was completely united is our continued engagement in the Middle East peace process and in broader bilateral relations with Israel. There is full unity and solidarity among member states and among European institutions on that.”
Israel has been up in arms since the EU announced that goods produced in Israeli settlements must have special labels and cannot be marked as having been made in Israel.
The Israeli freeze has interfered with some technical-level talks but it is unlikely to hinder the work of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers, which comprises the UN, EU, United States and Russia.