Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission registered the European Citizen Initiative on ‘Ensuring Common Commercial Policy conformity with EU Treaties and compliance with international law’ on 8 September 2021.
This decision is of a legal nature and only confirms that there is a legal basis in the Treaty conferring on the Commission the power to make a proposal in the area of the initiative.
It does not prejudge the final legal and political conclusions of the Commission on the initiative and the action it will intend to take, if any, in case the initiative reaches the required number of statements of support.
The EU has exclusive competence on the common commercial policy, as provided by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (Articles 3.1(e) and 207 TFEU). As a customs union, the EU applies common arrangements for imports of goods from third countries uniformly across the EU.
In principle, only the EU can decide to prohibit the importation of goods and services and not the Member States individually.
In the absence of an express authorisation by the EU, in general Member States cannot adopt their own national rules in this respect (Article 2(1) TFEU) and must comply with Regulation 2015/478 that sets out the detailed general EU Common Rules for imports.
In line with international law, all agreements between Israel and the EU must explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.
-  Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1484 of 8 September 2021 on the request for registration of the European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Ensuring Common Commercial Policy conformity with EU Treaties and compliance with international law’ pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/788 of the European Parliament and of the Council; OJ L 328/1, 16.9.2021, p. 1-3.
-  Regulation (EU) 2015/478 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 on common rules for imports; OJ L 83, 27.3.2015, p. 16‐33.
-  Council Conclusions of 18 January 2016.