July 24, 2012, Brussel
EU-Israel trade and diplomatic relations boosted
• The EU was set to upgrade trade and diplomatic relations with Israel in more than 60 areas this week.
• The EU would widen its relationship with Jerusalem on a range of areas including migration, energy, transport and agriculture.
• Improved bilateral relations included the removal of obstacles impeding Israel's access to European government-controlled markets.
• Israel's co-operation with nine EU agencies was also enhanced, including the police body Europol, the EU's Judicial Co-operation Unit and the European Space Agency.
• Israel will also be in line to receive direct financial assistance worth €6 million over the next three years.
• A package of upgraded benefits was reportedly presented to Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, during talks at the annual EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels which is the highest political forum for ties between the two.
• The EU is already one of Israel’s largest trading partners, with two-thirds of Israel's imports bought from EU member states and total trade worth €29.5 billion in 2011.
• The wide-ranging boost to bilateral relations is the most significant package offered to Israel in recent years, but stops just short of the full upgrade in relations that was frozen after Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.