Belgium to Ratify EU-Israel Association Agreement

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
12 October 1999

The Foreign Ministry today (Tuesday) 12.10.99, has announced that the level of relations between Israel and the European Union will be upgraded following the elimination of the last obstacle in the ratification of the association agreement between Israel and the EU. The development is the result of a meeting between Foreign Minister David levy and Belgium Foreign Minister Louis Michel this morning, the last EU foreign minister to oppose the ratification. Consequently, Israeli-EU political dialogue as well as economic, cultural, commercial, scientific and technological cooperation will deepen.

Foreign Minister Michel stated that due his to satisfaction in the progress of the peace process and the policies of the Israeli government, he now supports the ratification of the association agreement and will present it to the Belgian parliament in the coming weeks.

Belgium and France were the last countries in the EU to refuse to ratify the association agreement. During his visit to Israel last week, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine told Foreign Minister Levy that he too supports the agreement, and today’s support by Belgium has removed the final obstacle.

During meetings between Minister Levy and the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union yesterday, it was agreed to establish a joint Israel-EU forum to promote bilateral relations in all fields – political, cultural, public image, etc.