Lapid Likely to Meet EU Foreign Ministers on October 6 for Renewed Annual Meeting

The Association Council meeting – the first of its kind since 2012 – will mark a significant achievement for Lapid, who will be in the midst of an election campaign

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in June.
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in June.Credit: YVES HERMAN/ REUTERS
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The EU-Israel Association Council, an annual high-profile meeting between European foreign ministers and their Israeli counterpart, is slated to be held in October. This will be the council's first meeting since 2012, when they were halted due to political tensions over European policy concerning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will likely meet with the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union on October 6. A year ago, upon assuming the role of foreign minister, Lapid was invited to a meeting of 26 foreign ministers from the European Union Council, where he called on his counterparts to renew the direct dialogue.

Last week, the foreign ministers of the European Union's member states agreed to renew the Association Council. According to an EU statement, the ministers "agreed to reconvene the meetings and start work to determine the EU position. The EU position on the Middle East Process has not changed since the 2016 Council conclusions supporting the two-state solution."

Josep Borrell, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said at a press conference that "We know that the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories is deteriorating, and I think – and the ministers agreed – that this Association Council would be a good occasion to engage with Israel about these issues."

Under the dialogue, the European foreign ministers are to hold an annual meeting with their Israeli counterpart to promote partnership between Israel and the EU on matters such as trade and foreign policy. The Association Agreements, signed by Israel and the European Union back in 1995, are framework agreements regarding relations between the parties. These included a high-level annual convention of the EU’s and Israel’s foreign ministers.

The last such meeting took place in July 2012. A year later, in 2013, Israel canceled the next scheduled meeting due to the EU's position on West Bank settlements, and its determination that agreements between the EU and Israel shall not apply beyond the Green Line.

Lapid will be in the midst of his election campaign during the Association meeting, and will attempt to garner diplomatic achievements ahead of the elections; in September, he is scheduled to speak before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The renewal of the Association Council is one of Lapid’s most significant diplomatic achievement as foreign minister, and realizes his aspiration to strengthen ties with the continent, as opposed to the tension characterizing Netanyahu’s term.

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