Memorandum by the Commission Services
Q1. What should be the objectives of EU policy
in the Middle East Peace Process?
The objective of EU policy is to promote
a peaceful resolution to the conflict, working in co-operation
with the Parties. In this way, the EU works to contribute to an
end to the occupation that began in 1967 and the creation of an
independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living side-by-side
with Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security. This
would offer the chance for Israel, the Palestinians and other
regional partners to consolidate peaceful relations.
Q2. How effective have the EU's relations
and activities been in supporting the Peace Process and in influencing
the actors in the region, in comparison with the bilateral relations
of individual Member States? To what extent are the roles of the
EU and the Member States complementary?
The EU has played a key role in supporting
the Middle East peace process. It has a well defined policy stance
on the key issues including borders, settlements, Jerusalem, refugees
etc. As a member of the Quartet, the EU is at the heart of political
discussions on the peace process and is a co-originator of the
2002 performance based "Roadmap" to a permanent two-state
solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Therefore, it is
well placed to influence actors in the region.
We also have close cooperation with the NGO
and civil society sector, which should not be underestimated.
The EC's "Partnership for Peace" programme helps
create the conditions for re-launching the peace process. We funded
one of the partners who drafted the Geneva initiative (the Palestinian
Peace Coalition Association).
Our activities are complementary to the activities
of individual Member States thanks to close coordination both
in Brussels and in the region. EU Foreign Ministers discuss the
peace process at their monthly Council meetings and, in the region,
one example of coordination is the "Governance Strategy Group"
which brings together EU Member States with other institutions
in order to promote harmonisation of donors' procedures as well
as improved integration of donor projects with priorities of the
Q3. What is your assessment of the effectiveness
of existing instruments in achieving EU objectives? What other
instruments, if any, does the EU need to be effective in the Middle
East Peace Process? How could the available instruments be used
more effectively to achieve these objectives? Are the EU's policies
and instruments coherent?
Q4. How successfully has the EU operated in
the framework of the Quartet, and with its individual members,
especially the United States? How effective is the EU participation
in the political process, given the constraints on dialogue with
and amongst key parties in the region?
The EU is well equipped to engage regional partners
on both political and practical issues. Regular, structured
political dialogue is complemented by discussions on a range of
issues such as trade, energy, environment, education etc, depending
on the priorities of the country concerned.
In the case of the Arab Israeli conflict, the
EU is perceived as having a balanced position. This, in
combination with its trade, political and practical assistance,
increases its credibility in this area. The EU, as the
largest trading block in the world and the largest donor to the
Palestinians, offers a range of relationships to the Parties
which can not be replicated by Member States acting alone.
For example, in recent years political dialogue
between the EU and Israel has intensified, in the context
of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Commission considers
that the broadening of this dialogue as well as the increased
trust in this bilateral framework have contributed to greater
openness and a willingness to engage on more controversial issues
in the context of the peace process. A concrete example is the
deployment of the EU's Border Assistance Mission at Rafah where
the EU is, for the first time, involved in a matter directly related
to Israeli and Palestinian security.
A similar framework exists for political
relations with the Palestinians and we maintain close contacts
with the Office of President Abbas and other independent authorities.
However, since the formation of a government in 2006 which did
not respond to the three Quartet principles EU Member States decided
to suspend political contacts with that government. This policy
of "no contact" has limited our dialogue with Palestinian
As a member of the Quartet, the EU supported
its recent revitalisation and maintains close contact with its
partners at both Principals and Envoys level.
The other members recognise that the EU is able
to deliver effectively on the ground, in a variety of ways.
In 2006, we created the Temporal International Mechanism (TIM)
to channel international donor support directly to ordinary Palestinians,
after a decision was taken not to engage with the Hamas government.
Q6. How well adapted are the European Neighbourhood
Policy (ENP) and the Euro-Mediterranean (Euromed) Partnership
to supporting the EU's policies on the MEPP?
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership has
been a key framework for relations between the EU and its Mediterranean
partners since 1995. It makes a direct contribution to supporting
the EU's policies on the MEPP not least through the meetings of
the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 37 Euro-Med countries. In
the current difficult circumstances the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
assumes even greater importance as a unique and inclusive structure
of regional cooperation on political and security issues,
with several important partnership-building measures already in
Since 2004 our European Neighbourhood Policy
(ENP) has provided for deeper bilateral relations with our
neighbours, covering all policy areas. It also allows the EU to
address certain issues which arise between partner countries.
The EU's interactions with countries in the Middle East, through
the ENP, directly contributes to the creation of an environment
which facilitates dialogue such as for instance The common
elements between the ENP "Action Plans" for Israel and
for the Palestinian Authority. In addition, the ENP Action Plans
with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority include commitments
on regional co-operation in various fields, and this has
already borne fruit.
Q7. What contribution have EU operational
missions (eg EU COPPS, EU BAM Rafah, election observation missions)
made to achieving EU objectives and advancing the Peace Process?
Through the Border Assistance Mission (EU
BAM Rafah), Member States have seconded police and customs
experts and the European Commission provides equipment
and training. Regrettably, the Rafah crossing point has been
closed for 80% of the time since the kidnap of an Israeli soldier
and the launch of Israeli incursions into Gaza in June 2006.
The EU Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories
(EU POL COPPS) aimed at building up the capacity of the
Palestinian civil police which would make a major contribution
to law and order, but its operations are suspended under
the decision to restrict political contacts with the Hamas government.
The EU deployed the largest Election Observation
Mission for both the January 2005 presidential election and
the January 2006 Legislative Council election in the West Bank
and Gaza. This EU monitoring activity has increased confidence
in the democratic process, helping to increase accountability
and trust in the electoral institutions.
Q9. What steps can the EU now take, including
economic steps, to assist a return to and implementation of the
Peace Process in the short and medium term? How far should the
Peace Process be renewed or should we move to the final status
Regarding economic steps, clearly progress
in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would
lead to economic development in the Palestinian territories. The
reverse is also true; economic development would bring stability
and space for negotiations.
This is why we believe that the proper implementation
of the November 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA)
is crucial. If people can not move to and from the Palestinian
Territories, or even within the West Bank, people are separated
from their places of employment. If goods can not move to and
fro, the Palestinian economy is crippled and indeed the Israeli
business community is unable to access the market offered in the
Regarding renewal of the peace process, the
EU supports the resumption of negotiations between the Parties.
The Roadmap adopted by the Quartet remains valid. We consider
that discussion of final status issues (such as borders,
Jerusalem, refugees and settlements) is necessary in order to
mobilise both populations behind a return to negotiations.