European official: Economic boycott of Israel is 'not justified'
Verheugen suggests offering economic incentives to show Israel that EU supports its right to exist.
European Commission Vice-President Gunter Verheugen said Sunday that said boycotts of Israeli products were "not justified," adding that they were an "easy solution" that would do nothing to improve the Middle East Conflict.
Verheugen said that while the EU could not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it could offer economic incentives to make it easier for the sides to come to an understanding.
In addition, he said internal divisions within the EU on the Israeli-Palestinian issue make it difficult to come up with a unified strategy acceptable to both sides.
Acknowledging that many Israelis do not fully trust the EU, Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, said that "Europeans must send a clear message that Israel has a right to exist within secure borders."
Once the EU makes this acknowledgement, he said, it would be in a position to be a broker.
Verheugen acknowledged that the EU can only offer what he termed "soft power," but the economic advantages the EU can offer Israel would give the feeling that the Europeans are doing something for the country's economic future.