Israel and the EU have successfully concluded negotiations over a joint Action Plan (AP) as part of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). The AP was adapted by the GAERC Council in December 2004.
The adoption of the AP will create new opportunities of cooperation within its three chapters: Political, Economic and Trade, and People to People. All of these may serve as a new platform for further deepening the ties beyond the Association Agreement. “Israel and the European Union are neighbors, sharing seas, environment, common ideas and values, and of course strategic interests”- said Foreign minister Shalom upon the adoption of the AP, adding that this development “proved once again that we can build a reality of not only geographic proximity, as a direct result of this past year’s enlargement, but also of greater partnership and cooperation”.
During the next three years both sides will jointly work to turn the AP into concrete and specific agreements and structured dialogues on the issues mentioned in the AP. These will enhance the dialogue on issues such as: Middle East Peace Process, combating terrorism and the struggle against anti-Semitism.
Acting on the issues mentioned in the economic chapter will help both sides to maximize the benefits of their bilateral relation and mutual trade. A stronger emphasis on people to people relations as stipulated in the AP will hopefully increase the mutual understanding between the enlarged E.U. and Israel.The Action Plan concluded under the European
Neighbourhood Policy with Israel helped give new energy and focus to
EU-Israel relations. Its objective is to gradually integrate Israel into
European policies and programmes. Every step taken is determined by both sides
and the Action Plan is tailor-made to reflect Israel’s interests and priorities
as well as its level of development.
In order to implement the AP 10 subcommittees have been established:
1. Political, dialogue and cooperation.
2. Economic and financial matters.
3. Social and migration affairs.
4. Customs cooperation and taxation.
5. Agriculture and fisheries.
6. Internal market.
7. Industry, trade and services.
8. Justice and legal matters.
9. Transport, energy and environment.
10. Research, innovation, information society, education and culture.