Dr Mike Evans

Lapid set to attend first EU-Israel Association Council in a decade

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is set to attend the European Union-Israel Association Council meeting next month in an effort to restart ties after a decade without a meeting.

The gathering was launched in 1995 but has not met since 2021. The meeting is expected on Oct. 6 in Brussels.

“The fact that 27 EU Foreign Ministers have voted unanimously in favor of strengthening economic and diplomatic ties with Israel is proof of Israel’s diplomatic strength and this government’s ability to create new opportunities with the international community,” Lapid said in a statement when the meeting was announced in July.

Lapid previously met with the EU’s foreign ministers last year, seeking to involve the Association Council as a means of improving E.U.-Israeli relations.

According to the EU, it is Israel’s largest trade market and accounts for about a third of Israel’s total trade. “In 2020, Israel was ranked the EU’s 24th trade partner. The most traded goods are chemicals and related products, machinery and transport equipment, and manufactured goods,” according to the EU’s website.

E.U. High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has continued to emphasize a two-state solution as discussion continues, an emphasis Lapid noted in his recent United Nations address despite much controversy in Israel and Israeli supporters worldwide.

“The position of the EU has not changed with respect to the Middle East peace process, and we will continue… supporting the two-state solution,” Borrell said in July.

“We know the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories is deteriorating, and I think ministers agree this association council is a good occasion to engage with Israel about these issues,” he added.

The meeting may also have implications for Israel’s November elections as the nation is set to vote for its next prime minister.