EU flag European Union flag 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some 450 European parliamentarians from 37 countries including all 27 members of
the European Union were set to arrive in Israel on Friday for a three-day
conference that starts Saturday.
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During the three-day event organized by
European Friends of Israel, a pro-Israel lobby group, lawmakers will tour the
country and meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders including Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud
“Nobody understands Europe is the key for the region because of
the $22 billion in trade between Israel and Europe, among other things,” EFI
head Michel Gourary told The Jerusalem Post
. “If Europe wants to be an honest
broker then we need better relations. After all, Israel is the most
European country in the region.”
So far there have been no cancelations
despite the riots in Egypt and fears that the tension may spread to other
countries that neighbor Israel, organizers said.
“We don’t have a special
panel dealing with the events in the region,” a spokesman said, “but it will
certainly come up with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and MK Binyamin Ben-
Prominent participants include Tsetska Tsacheva, president of
the National Assembly of Bulgaria; Jan Figel, deputy prime minister of Slovakia;
and Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, deputy minister of foreign affairs of
In addition there will be several former heads of state such as
Aleksander Kwasniewski, former president of Poland (1995-2005); José María
Alfredo Aznar López, former prime minister of Spain (1996- 2004); and Dr. George
Vassiliou, former president of the Republic of Cyprus (1988 - 1993).
the course of the weekend, forums will be held where issues like the boycotting
of Israel, the threat of terrorism and Israel’s business sector will be debated.
The conference is one of three that will take place over the next several days –
The Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center will open on Monday
while the Conference of Presidents will hold its gathering towards the end of