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EU to discuss Israel's participation in research and development programme

According to the Maariv news site, European and Israeli officials are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday to discuss Israel's participation in the EU's Horizon 2020 programme, which is a grand initiative running from 2014 to 2020 seeking to establish a common framework for research and innovation.

The meeting will be held under the chairmanship of the Secretary of Foreign Relations and the EU representative of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Israel has said that it will not join the programme in the wake of a European decision to exclude the territories occupied during 1967 from Israeli sovereignty.

European sources have predicted, according to the paper, that the EU's position will likely soften on the guidelines that were recently issued.

A European source was quoted as saying, "The Israeli expectations in this regard are exaggerated. The European Union cannot defer the guidelines, and it certainly will not abandon them, because they have become part of the EU system."

However, he pointed out that it is possible to negotiate "on the territories covered by these guidelines."

The European source pointed out that until now, "there is no agreement on the wording of the guidelines that should be signed by Israeli institutions when requesting financial support from the EU countries. The topic is still subject to negotiations."

The guidelines currently stipulate that, "any agreement between Israel and the European Union should clearly note it only applies to territories inside Israel and does not include territories occupied in 1967." This reflects international law but contradicts Israeli law, which considers East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

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