BERLIN – The German Foreign Ministry denied on Friday that the Merkel
administration had backtracked from its support of EU guidelines banning
cooperation with Israeli organizations beyond the Green Line.
In an email
statement sent to The Jerusalem Post, a spokeswoman quoted Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle with respect to the new EU Commission guidelines.
meeting last on July 22 in Brussels, he said that “we do not see any substantial
change in Europe’s policies,” she wrote.
Westerwelle’s comments on Monday
rebutted statements made by deputy Philipp Missfelder, Bundestag spokesman for
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its coalition partner
the Bavarian Christian Social Union. They also contradicted a report in the mass
circulation German newspaper Bild.
Three days before Westerwelle’s
announcement, the CDU/CSU Bundestag coalition welcomed the federal government’s
decision to distance itself from the “controversial European Union guidelines,”
in a statement published on the coalition’s website.
On the same Friday,
Bild reported that the German “Foreign Ministry distances itself” from the EU
The article stated that Germany initially agreed with the EU
foreign ministers’ decision on the guidelines.
Bild quoted a spokeswoman
for the ministry saying that the EU Commission used its “own authority” to draw
up the guidelines following a decision by the EU foreign
Missfelder said the CDU/CSU statement was based on the Bild
report that said the federal government had moved away from the EU
Missfelder – a leading expert on the Middle East in the
Bundestag – said the EU guidelines are “pure ideology and symbolic politics”
that will not contribute to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
Westerwelle said on Monday in Brussels, “We assume that the EU
Commission will seek immediate talks with the Israeli government in order to
clear up possible misunderstandings.
Of course, it is a matter for the
commission to justify its own guidelines.”
The Foreign Ministry stressed
that Westerwelle did not signal a reversal or a backing away from the EU
guidelines during his meeting on Monday in Brussels.
confirmed that a German diplomat was informed at Israel’s Foreign Ministry of
Israel’s position regarding the EU guidelines.”
Israel rejects the EU
guidelines as counterproductive for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks initiated by
US Secretary of State John Kerry and as an infringement on Israel’s right to
demarcate its own borders.