Israel and the European Union have established a "reflection group" to find ways to enhance Israeli relations with the EU beyond the existing and developed relations,  with the purpose of expanding pre-existing Israeli cooperation in European programs

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

In March 2007, the Israel-European Union Association Council, headed by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and her German counterpart, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, established a "reflection group" to find ways to enhance Israeli relations with the EU beyond the existing and developed relations within the framework of the Israel-EU Association Agreement and within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy.

A key part of the enhancement is based on Israel’s incorporation in European agencies and programs in matters of mutual interest, including: financial issues, research and development, trade, energy, environmental protection, culture, the media, youth issues, etc. The purpose is to expand the already existing cooperation in European programs such as the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development, the framework of the GALILEO European Satellite Navigation System project and the framework of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), which Israel recently joined.

To promote Israel’s incorporation into European agencies and programs, the MFA held an interministerial meeting on Tuesday 13 November with Dr. Andreas Herdina, head of the Sector Coordination Unit for European Neighbourhood Policy in the European Commission in Brussels and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism and also the Bank of Israel,  the Council for Higher Education, the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel, the Standards Institution of Israel, and the Economic-Social Council.

In his opening remarks, MFA Deputy Director General Rafael Barak emphasized that Israel has significantly advanced it relations with the European Union within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, and stressed Israel’s ambition to further enhance the relationship. Dr. Herdina stated that the EU is willing to open additional agencies and programs to Israeli participation and described the practical means to do so.

The EU has budgeted Euro 8 million to support the operative program with Israeli ministries for the period 2007-2010.