Israel on the world map: Europe and Euro-Asia
The countries of Western Europe are the most ancient and natural trading partner of Israel. The creation in 1975 of the mutual free trade area with the European Community led to a significant increase in Israeli exports to EU countries and to further growth of import of European goods to Israel. The development of bilateral trade has accelerated due to the development of business contacts between European and Israeli entrepreneurs and investors, the creation of a network of joint ventures and efforts to strengthen economic ties with member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Signed in 1995 Association Agreement between Israel and the EU entered into force in June 2000 that brought about the stage as political dialogue and economic cooperation. Already in the mid 90-ies of Israel joined the EU framework Programme for research and technological development.
In December 2004, Israel and the EU agreed on an action Plan in the framework of the “European neighbourhood policy” EU. In November 2007, the company opened a European-Israeli Dialogue on the business, aimed at enhancing understanding and cooperation between the private entrepreneurs of Israel and a United Europe. In June 2008, the EU announced the increase in the level of its relations with Israel.
Together with the United States, the Russian Federation and the UN, the European Union is a member of the so-called “Quartet”, the purpose of which is settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict through the peace process.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (photo
GPO / Amos Ben Gershom)
Central Europe and Euro-Asia
Israel’s relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, ranked after the second world war under the control of the USSR were restored immediately after the fall in these States the Communist regimes and the transition to the path of democratic development. Over the last twenty years these relations have strengthened, especially in the field of economic cooperation, tourism, culture and international cooperation. Of particular importance are bilateral economic agreements, since many of these countries already joined the EU, and the rest are candidates for early accession.
Since these countries were the center of world Jewish life before the second world war, the memory of the Holocaust and its consequences is an important factor of bilateral relations. Israel is seeking to facilitate the return of the rightful owners and their heirs kidnapped and nationalized Jewish property that cooperated in the recognition of the “Righteous Gentiles” Europeans who risked their lives to save Jewish citizens from the Nazis and their accomplices, and actively engages with governments and EU bodies to combat manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
The relationship of Israel with the countries of Euro-Asia (former USSR) are gaining acceleration, in particular in the political, economic and cultural spheres. Official visits and new agreements have laid a solid Foundation for the expansion of these relations. Trade and investments are showing impressive growth rates. More than a million former Soviet citizens now living in Israel, created a genuine “human bridge” between Israel and the countries of origin, contributing to the bilateral relations of particular dimension.
Connection of Israel with the Russian Federation are strategic in nature given the active participation of Russia in the diplomatic process in the middle East (as a member of the “Quartet”) and in the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program.
Israel continues to expand its relations with the States of Central Asia and the Caucasus, where there is a great demand for the services of MASHAV in such areas as national health, agriculture, water management and combating desertification. Other important issues are the protection of Jewish heritage in the Eurasian States, the commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust and combating anti-Semitism.