The European neighbourhood policy and Israel: Achievements and disappointments

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Over a decade has passed since the European Union (EU) launched its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and nine years since the Action Plan with Israel was adopted. Politicians on both sides talked about deep economic integration, ‘a stake in the internal market’, ‘everything but institutions’, and arrangements that could be as close as what the EU has with countries like Norway or Iceland in the European Economic Area.This article aims to examine to what extent the great hopes with which the ENP was greeted both in the EU and in Israel have materialized, in particular in the field of international trade and economic integration. The article compares the actual achievements with the original goals of the ENP Action Plan and finds more disappointments than achievements. Among the achievements, the article describes and analyses the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance for industrial products concluded in 2012 and the bilateral aviation agreement (‘Open Skies’), as well as Israel’s accession and successful participation in the EU scientific research and technical development programmes (including the ‘Horizon 2020’). The list of what could and should have been done, however, is longer and more disappointing, and it includes issues such as trade facilitation through modernization of customs administration, revision of outdated protectionist rules of origin, and the EU’s failure to contribute to peace in the Middle East by refusing to recognize diagonal cumulation of origin between Israel and its neighbours. Likewise, the lack of any progress on important topics such as competition rules, public procurement, trade in financial and professional services, e-commerce and investment, to name a few, outweighs the few achievements that can be noted.The article then proceeds to discuss the possible reasons for these disappointing results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-642
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number4
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2015

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© 2015 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands.


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