EU, Israel begin talks over participation in Horizon 2020

Foreign Ministry official says Jerusalem won’t join program unless settlement guideline issues are resolved.

By
August 14, 2013 20:26
2 minute read.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, June 20, 2013.

Netanyahu and Ashton looking sullen 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

If “positive understandings” with the EU regarding implementation of settlement guidelines cannot be reached, Israel will not join the Horizon 2020 R&D program, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday at the opening of talks on the issue.

At the beginning, in Tel Aviv, of the first EU-Israel meeting to discuss Israel’s participation in the lucrative project, Foreign Minister deputy director-general for economic affairs Irit Ben-Abba – who led the Israeli delegation at the talks – made it clear that Israel took a grave view of the new EU guidelines, which prohibit funding to Israel entities in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“Israel expressed its hope that a way to reach positive understandings on the guidelines’ implementation will be found, so as to enable Israel to participate in Horizon 2020,” the Foreign Ministry said. “It was emphasized that, should such understandings not be reached, Israel will be unable to join the European R&D program.”

One ministry official, however, said that if a conversation on the matter on Friday night between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was any indication, there was no guarantee that an agreement could be found.

The official said that the conversation was “very difficult,” and that Ashton did not acknowledge that there was a problem with the guidelines, saying instead that she received plaudits from various European foreign ministers for drawing them up.

“They are not convinced there is a problem,” the official said.

The guidelines call, among other elements, for Israel to sign a “territorial clause” before entering into any new agreements with the EU that would say that the agreement is inapplicable in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or the West Bank. Israel interprets this as an attempt by the EU to get Israel to sign a waiver of claims to these areas before being able to enter agreements with the EU.



According to the Foreign Ministry, Wednesday’s discussions in Tel Aviv with senior officials from the EU’s directorate- general for Research and Innovation focused on drafting a memorandum of understanding that will detail the rules and procedures governing Israel’s participation in the program, including the financial aspects.

Israel is expected to invest some 600 million euros over the next seven years in the flagship EU research and development program, and get back in inbound grants and investments some 900m. euros. Israel has taken part in the major EU R&D project since 1996.

The EU issued a release following the talks saying that the negotiations were limited to “exploratory talks on technical and financial aspects” of the program. Discussions on the “territorial scope of the future memorandum” and the application of the settlement guidelines will start, the statement said, during the second round of negotiations to take place in Brussels in September.

Israel Radio, meanwhile, reported that Ruth Arnon, the president of the Israel Academy of Sciences, wrote a letter to Netanyahu warning that giving up on Israel’s participation in the program would be an “irreversible step” that would damage Israel’s scientific capabilities.

Arnon wrote, according to the report, that while it was possible to find a substitute to the money expected to come into Israel as a result of its participation in the program, there is no substitute to Israeli universities and industry cooperating with the EU. Arnon wrote that Israel receives more research grants per capita from the EU than any other country.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN