ECI mobilises grassroots activists in EU member states to oppose EU labelling guidelines

Brussels, December 14th, 2015 - The European Coalition for Israel has mobilised its grassroots constituency across the EU member states in an unprecedented campaign to oppose the EU labelling directive which was published in Brussels on November 11th.  The notice instructs the EU member states to clearly mark Israeli products from the disputed territories in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. No similar guidelines are given to other disputed territories around the world.

ECI has previously called the guidelines, ”discriminatory, counterproductive and simply wrong” and repeated this in an open debate with senior EU officials at an ECI symposium in the European Parliament in Brussels on 3rd December.  Also many EU member states, among them Greece, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have expressed opposition to the directive. The President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, has called the guidelines ”unwise.”

In a unique pan-European grassroots campaign to present the main arguments against labelling Israeli products the ECI has mobilised activists in more than 20 of the EU 28 member states to reach their respective Foreign Ministers with an official ECI letter which spells out the flaws of the directive. The reactions have been mostly positive. In one southern EU member state with a track record of being consistently critical of Israel, the Foreign Minister has asked to meet the ECI representative in person after he sent him the ECI letter on Thursday.

The letter summarises the legal and practical arguments against the labelling notice, pointing out that the planned EU measures will further weaken the Palestinian economy by putting at risk job opportunities for over 30 000 Palestinians and by further separating the Palestinians from the Israelis.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council is due to meet in Brussels on Monday, 14th December and although the labelling notice is not on the official agenda it can be raised by any member state.