On 24th October 2013, the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, received answers to three written questions regarding Israeli settlement-based entities, activities and products.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to implement the new European Commission guidelines of July 2013 on the funding of Israeli settlement-based entities and activities.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The EU guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments, were prepared to implement the commitment made by EU Foreign Ministers in December 2012 to make a distinction in relevant EU programmes and agreements between the State of Israel and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. The guidelines themselves apply to EU, rather than individual Member State programmes, and will be implemented by the European Commission. The guidelines are due to be implemented in January 2014.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of whether the new European Commission guidelines of July 2013 on Israeli settlement-based entities and activities will apply to the Horizon 2020 research programme.
Baroness Warsi: The Guidelines were intended to implement the commitment made by EU Foreign Ministers in December 2012 to make a distinction in relevant EU programmes and agreements between the State of Israel and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, to ensure that no EU funding goes to Israeli settlements. They were not intended to prevent the continuation and development of economic and scientific co-operation between the EU and Israel. Discussions are currently taking place between EU and Israeli officials to find a way forward which implements the guidelines whilst enabling Israeli participation in Horizon 2020, the EU’s science collaboration programme.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made by the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council on the preparation of European Union guidelines on the labelling of Israeli settlement products.
Baroness Warsi: We welcome the commitment of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Rt. Hon Baroness Ashton of Upholland, to prepare EU-wide guidelines on the labelling of settlement produce, and understand it is a complex process. The issue of settlement produce remains a subject of ongoing discussion with our EU partners, the European Commission, and the European External Action Service.