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Parliamentary questions
9 October 2014
Question for written answer
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  VP/HR — EU-wide labelling guidelines on products from Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories

In most EU countries — except Denmark, Belgium and the UK(1) — consumers cannot differentiate products coming from Israeli settlements from those produced in Israel proper, as European retailers continue to label everything ‘made in Israel’.

On 14 May 2012 the Member States expressed ‘their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission.’(2) Accordingly, the EEAS and the Commission started mapping relevant EU legislation to ensure correct labelling(3), setting up an inter-service group to ensure EU policy coherence.

In July 2013 the VP/HR wrote the Commissioners a letter(4) requesting the College’s support to proceed swiftly(5). Yet Ms Ashton did not put this issue on the College agenda, and hence never secured the necessary political support to adopt guidelines.

Parliament has urged the Union to ensure effective implementation of EU legislation on labelling(6).

— Will the VP/HR guarantee the commitment of the EEAS and of the Commission to fully implementing EU legislation on all aspects of EU-Israel relations, so as not to recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties?

— Will the VP/HR follow up on the commitments made by her predecessor to publish EU labelling guidelines? Will the VP/HR put this topic on the agenda of the College of Commissioners?

(1) UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ‘Technical Advice: labelling of produce grown in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (2009); Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, ‘Labelling of foods from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (2012); Belgian Federal Public Service for the Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy, ‘Avis aux détaillants concernant l’étiquetage d’origine des produits en provenance des territoires occupés par Israël’ (2014).
(2) Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process, May 2012, paragraph 6.
(3) Answer given by the Council to Written Question E-002208/2013.
(4) Times of Israel, 23 July 2013, full text of EU foreign policy chief’s letter on settlement labelling.
(5) Answer given by VP/HR Catherine Ashton on behalf of the Commission to Written Question E-005748/2013.
(6) European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the Israeli government’s decision to expand settlements in the West Bank, Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0506.

Last updated: 27 October 2014Legal notice