This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at marietje.schaake@ep.europa.eu

Plenary speech on EU-Israel agreement on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products

Marietje
Mr President, today we are discussing the oral question that seeks to clarify in a binding way appropriate measures to ensure that the EU will not import medicines or other pharmaceutical products from the Occupied Territories. This is in line with our policies across all imports from Israel, as well as exports. It is now both what Israel and Commissioner De Gucht have said, so it should also apply to these products in the wake of this protocol. When we talk about the technical implementation of a protocol to a trade agreement, some context and background are important, as it is undeniable that the political discussions have taken the upper hand in this House when dealing with this dossier. When it comes to Israel or the Middle East peace process, we have to be careful not to be so divisive ourselves that we become part of the problem instead of the solution. Clearly the EU has a responsibility to lead in protecting and promoting universal human rights worldwide. We believe trade agreements are an important lever and I think we should not shy away from firmly invoking conditionality clauses, especially those on human rights. However, to appropriately address the serious problem of the illegal settlements that the current government of Israel continues to build, this may not be the tool. We either have to use the conditionality at Association Agreement level or find other ways. To start with this protocol means we are turning procedures upside down and that will have an adverse effect. If nothing else, the procedural journey that this protocol has made through the EU makes us all less credible, and that is not what we need. Instead, trade and human rights should align in the EU’s external actions. The ALDE Group hopes the answer to this oral question will provide clarity so that we can put the protocol to a vote. It is then up to Members of this House to vote according to their conscience, as we always do, even on difficult and politicised issues. However, with or without this protocol, I once again urge the Israeli Government to stop the illegal settlements and to move closer to the EU and the international community. Getting by on a day-by-day basis is not the same as a sustainable two-state solution, which moves further away with every settlement built. That is irresponsible towards Israeli citizens in a dramatically uncertain and changing neighbourhood. Question by Marek Siwiec Answer to Marek Siwiec I hope that it was clear from my introduction on behalf of the ALDE Group that we are ready to put this protocol to a vote where Parliament can take its decision on whether to go ahead or not, and not to persist with procedural questions as is the case at the moment. If we want to address the very urgent human rights violations in Israel this, in my view, is not the appropriate way.