EU announces new labelling policy

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Tom Joyce

BY TOM JOYCE

@tomfruitnet

EU announces new labelling policy

The EU’s decision to clearly label products from illegal Israeli settlements has angered the Netanyahu government

EU announces new labelling policy

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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his opposition to the decision by the EU to label products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, branding it “political”.

The European Commission says the territories comprise the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, which were captured from Syria following the 1967 war.

Products grown in illegal settlements in the West Bank or Golan Heights would need to be have "Israeli settlement” specified on the label, for example “product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)" or "product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)”.

Products sourced from the West Bank but not originating from settlements would reportedly need to be labelled "product from Palestine" or "product from West Bank (Palestinian product)".

Since 2009, the UK has implemented voluntary guidelines for labelling in order to try to distinguish between West Bank produce made in Israeli settlements and Palestinian West Bank produce, while Denmark and Belgium have similar guidelines.

The new policy enjoys the widespread support of EU governments, but Israel has warned that it could have implications for Israel-EU relations and could harm the stuttering peace process with the Palestinians.

Israel's ministry of economy has estimated the impact of the policy at around €47m a year, according to Reuters. In 2014, EU imports from Israel were worth around €13bn.

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