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European Union postpones labelling of settlement products

January 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Haaretz newspaper has reported that the European Union has given into US pressure and postponed a decision to label settlement products, in order to distinguish them from other Israeli products, which would have facilitated consumer choice and the boycott of illegal products.

The newspaper quoted Israeli and European officials as saying that the decision, which had been due to be approved at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council this week, had been postponed until late June.

“A senior official in Jerusalem said Israel had asked the U.S. administration to help stop, or at least delay the EU decision to label products. He said Israel even asked for Secretary of State John Kerry’s intervention,” Haaretz reported.

“Kerry and other senior US officials asked Ashton and her staff, as well as several major EU states, to put off full enforcement,” it added, because if approved, such a decision would “harm Kerry’s efforts to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The European measure that was discussed last May has been tarried in the EU corridors for a period of time. The draft decision, which was due to be discussed on Monday, states that the agreements signed between Israel and the European Union do not apply to the Occupied Territories.

The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Villy Søvndal, had drafted a set of rules and regulations that would oblige marketing networks in EU countries to label Israeli settlement products. The Danish initiative received the support of France, Britain and a host of other EU countries.

The Danish initiative was dependent upon the decision of the EU Foreign Affairs council. It was to be approved by 27 ministers and emphasise that the EU and its member states are committed to full and successful implementation of the agreements signed with Israel.