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The EU-Israel partnership aims at strengthening political stability and economic development, while fostering regional cooperation, with regular political dialogue on issues of common interest. Its legal framework is provided by the EU-Israel "Association Agreement", which has been in force since 2000 within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (Barcelona Process). Although it is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Israel, due to its advanced level of economic development, receives limited funding from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and those funds are predominantly used for the implementation of institutional Twinning projects.
The EU-Israel Action Plan, agreed in 2005 is based on shared common values of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and basic freedoms. It promotes the integration of Israel into European policies and programmes. It has been extended until 2020.
European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is one of the main EU financing instruments for cooperation with Israel. All programmes comply with the requirements set in the ‘Guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967’ published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 19 July 2013
Through Twinning projects, the EU supports the approximation of Israeli norms and standards in public administration to those of the EU. It offers the opportunity to share best European practice in numerous areas. The EU contribution to Twinning programmes in Israel under bilateral ENI allocations averages 1.8 million per year. On-going Twinning projects are in the areas of statistics, education and telecommunication.
In addition to bilateral and thematic programmes, Israel benefits from various regional programmes, in the areas of rule of law and justice, environmental and climate change, culture and youth.
The European Peacebuilding Initiative (formerly EU Partnership for Peace Programme) supports civil society organisations promoting the Peace Process at the societal level and fostering direct civil society relationships, based on equality and reciprocity, between Palestinians and Israelis. The programme receives a €5 million annual allocation for local and cross-border initiatives in Palestine, Israel and Jordan.
Furthermore, Israeli research centres and universities, civil society organizations, public bodies as well as small and medium enterprises are also eligible for funding under the cross-border cooperation programme, aiming at promoting collaboration between EU Member States and neighbouring countries sharing a land border or sea-crossing. The EU-Israel CBC programme was signed on 2 January 2018.
Other financing instruments
Israeli civil society organisations are also eligible for funding under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which aims at providing support to civil society initiatives that promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy. The last call for proposals (budget: €2.5 million) was launched in January 2017.
Israel also participates in the Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth and sport, which funds academic and youth mobility as well as cooperation projects throughout the world. In addition, Israel is a full partner in the Horizon 2020 Research Programme with projects worth close to an estimated EUR 150 million per year in the period 2017-20.