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Parliamentary questions
6 December 2011
E-009280/11E-009975/11
Joint answer given by Mr Füle on behalf of the Commission
Written questions : E-009280/11 , E-009975/11

The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) has participated in three regional projects carried out under the Euromed Heritage programme. These concerned:

inventory of vernacular buildings throughout the Mediterranean;
development of ‘territorial cultural systems’;
temper focused on prehistoric archaeological sites, their management and educational programs for school children and visitors to raise awareness of the nature of prehistoric remains.

The IAA itself was not a direct financial beneficiary or contractor for any of the abovementioned projects.

Under Euromed Heritage IV, Israel is invited to participate in all the capacity-building workshops which are part of the EU's regional cooperation with the countries of the South Mediterranean. Until now, the IAA has been invited to attend six workshops, together with the other Directors of Antiquities in the South Mediterranean region, but only attended two workshops. No specific funding from Euromed Heritage IV has been given to the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

Under the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), the IAA participates in one FP7 project(1) funded under the Environment theme of the Cooperation specific programme. The project started in January 2010. The total cost of the Authority's participation in the project is EUR 140 800. The EU contribution to the Authority's eligible costs is EUR 114 400.

Under FP7, Israeli legal entities established within the internationally recognised borders of the State of Israel, are entitled to participate in FP7 in direct actions under the same conditions as those applicable to legal entities of Member States. The legal basis for the participation of and funding for Israeli entities under FP7 is the agreement on scientific and technical cooperation signed by the EU and Israel on 16 July 2007(2). In the specific case of Israel, the Commission checks the place of establishment on the basis of a post code list in order to distinguish between entities established within the internationally recognised borders of Israel and those established beyond them. Being established in number of different districts of the State of Israel, the IAA had submitted its application for the FP7 project together with a P.O. Box and a post code (P.O.B 586, 91004 — Jerusalem), which is in West Jerusalem.

The Commission is currently investigating the eligibility of the IAA for participation in this particular project. In the case of being declared ineligible, any amounts already paid will be recovered. An effective recovery procedure in respect of Israeli entities has been established in the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement. The Commission fully respects EU policy which does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, and acts in consequence with respect to all activities involving bi-lateral or regional cooperation programmes involving Israel. It intends to issue a reminder of EU policy together with precise operational guidance on this matter, to all Directorates-General and agencies involved in potential cooperation with Israel.

(1)Project number: 244123 — New integrated knowledge based approaches to the protection of cultural heritage from earthquake-induced risk (NIKER).
(2)OJ L 220/5, 25.8.2007.

Last updated: 15 December 2011Legal notice