EU Close to Labeling “Settlement Products”

September 5, 2015

2 min read

The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, announced on Saturday that after several years of considering the move, the EU is close to finalizing its guidelines for putting consumer labels on products made in Judah and Samaria. Some of the 28 EU countries already do so and the new EU guidelines will be voluntary, allowing each EU member state to decide how it will apply them within its own borders.

“”The work of the committee dealing with the issue is coming to a close – these are the last steps before we submit the conclusions,” Mogherini said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Currently, these products bear special markings that are intended to be recognizable by EU customs officials. Consumers in retail stores can only see a label stating that the products are made in Israel. This is due to Israel’s free trade arrangement with the EU.

Her announcement comes as the result of a letter she received on April 16 from the EU foreign ministers who wrote a joint letter requesting she expedite the process of labeling these products. Among the signatories to the letter were the foreign ministers of Italy, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Finland, France and Sweden.

Luxembroug’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn who currently holds the six-month presidency of the EU tired to placate critics. “We are not talking about an attempt to boycott Israel. We have to make sure that consumers can distinguish products that come from territories occupied by Israel. We are just applying international rules,” adding that a solution is expected by the end of the year.

It is a matter of debate as to whether the labeling of these products will negatively affect sales of Israeli products, and if so, whether it will be significant. The move is theoretically intended to force Israel to restart the process of negotiation with the Palestinian Authority.

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