Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (62)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


189 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Government’s position concerning the proposal that the EU strengthen its ties with Israel under the recently adopted European neighbourhood policy. [25316/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The European neighbourhood policy is designed to strengthen relations between the European Union and those neighbouring countries that do not currently have the prospect of EU membership. In return for concrete progress and the effective implementation of political, economic and institutional reforms reflecting shared values, the initiative offers these countries the prospect of closer economic integration with the EU. Under the policy, it is hoped that action plans with Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Ukraine and Moldova will be ready for adoption by the General Affairs and External Relations Council in November. All action plans with the exception of that for Israel are well advanced. In the case of Israel negotiations are continuing.

We believe that strengthening co-operation in all areas, including the political and economic areas, will be both in our own interests and in the interests of the new neighbours themselves. It is our belief that the political dialogue in these action plans will be of central importance to meeting the EU's concerns about developments in the region. These action plans will, of course, be prepared through consultation and agreement with the parties, and the finalisation of any plan will depend on the acceptance by both parties of the need to engage constructively on political issues of concern.

Question No. 190 answered with QuestionNo. 175.