EU Freezes Europol Ties Over Incoming Government Policies, Israeli Sources Say

'There's pressure to be less forgiving with Israel, now that the government is changing,' one source told Haaretz

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.
Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.Credit: AP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The European Union informed the Israeli ambassador to the organization that it will not continue to advance the draft agreement for intelligence cooperation between the Israel Police and the Europol Agency.

The draft was signed in September and requires the approval of the European Parliament. Israeli sources told Haaretz Tuesday that the decision is a first European signal that changing Israeli policy in the territories will compromise cooperation with the Union. “There's pressure to be less forgiving with Israel, now that the government is changing,” a source said.

Notification of the freezing of the agreement was conveyed on Friday to Chaim Regev, Israeli ambassador to the EU. The agreement, considered desirable by the professional echelons on both sides, is meant to improve the transfer of intelligence between member countries to prevent crime and terrorism.

In recent years, Israel has led to the thwarting of a series of terror attack on European soil through intelligence it provided, whereas intelligence provided by Europe has often aided in combatting organized crime in Israel.

The unusual European decision not to advance a draft that has already been signed has raised red flags in Jerusalem. The signed agreement was presented to European Parliament members after the recent election, and representatives from several countries expressed vehement opposition to the moderate wording of the articles restricting the cooperation to the areas within the Green Line.

EU sources have made it clear that the decision was made “to prevent misunderstandings of the Union’s position on the territories.” On Monday, the head of the department for law enforcement cooperations in the Union, Rob Rosenberg, said the final agreement may actually “include slight exceptions in case of material threats and the need to protect civilian populations.”

It is unclear if the new government will allow continued work on agreements with the EU.

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