The EU-Israel Association Agreement forms the legal basis governing relations between the two parties. It was elaborated within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), and came into force in June 2000. The agreement prioritises political stability and economic development. It aims to encourage regional cooperation and open up a regular political dialogue on issues of common interest, especially in the scientific, social and cultural spheres. Under the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy, a three-year EU-Israel Action Plan came on stream in April 2005. Its purpose is to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes.
Co-operation Programmes 2007-2013
Given its advanced economic development, Israel is only eligible for a limited amount of bilateral funding under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). However, the country has benefitted from a variety of other budget lines relating to the promotion of peace and democracy.
The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)
The ENP action plan provides a general overview of strategic objectives and will deepen or implement EU-Israel co-operation in the areas relating to political dialogue, justice and legal matters, industry and trade, research and innovation as well as education and culture.
The National Indicative Programme (NIP) for 2007-2010 and the NIP 2011-2013 translate these priorities into programmes aiming at approximating Israeli public administrations to the EU acquis, and at supporting higher education, especially in relation to education and training policies in a global knowledge-based economy. Israel benefits from an overall allocation of €7.5 million for the period of the NIP 2007-2010 and €6 million for the NIP 2011-2013, making for an annual average of €2 million.
In order to support the implementation of the EU-Israel Action Plan through operations that promote the approximation of Israeli norms and standards to those of the EU, the Twinning co-operation instrument has become available to Israel by the end of 2007. Since 2008 Twinning projects were launched in the field of Data protection, Urban Transport, Equal Employment Opportunities, Veterinary Inspection and Telecommunications. A twinning project in support to Rural Development has been launched in 2013. Twinning projects in preparation concern Statistics, Environmental protection and Energy.
Other budget lines
In the framework of the Middle East Peace Projects (MEPP), the European Union allocates between €5-10 million per year to civil society organisations for local and international initiatives in the region, including Israel, through the EU Partnership for Peace Programme. Israel is also eligible for the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) aimed to provide small-scale financial support for civil society initiatives that promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
Young Israelis participate in youth exchange programmes with their European and Mediterranean counterparts under the Euro-Med Youth in Action Programme. Israeli film-makers benefit from funding and training under the Euro-Med Audiovisual Programme. Since 2006, Israel has also received support from the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument and is one of the countries making the most frequent use of this instrument.
Co-operation until 2006
Israel fully participates in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, both in its bilateral and regional dimension. However, due to its advanced economic development, Israel was not eligible for bilateral funding under the MEDA programme. The regional component of the MEDA programme supported cultural activities in Israel such as the Cinema Europa and DanceEuropa festivals and to encourage cultural co-operation between Israel and the other Mediterranean Partners.
Israeli universities have participated in the FEMISE forum of economic institutes, while chambers of commerce and employers’ associations have participated in programmes like UNIMED and ArchiMedes.
For European Neighbourhood Policy and EU policy towards Israel see the European External Action Service website.