EU Discusses Sanctions Against Israeli Annexation That Will Not Require Consensus

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council discussed Friday possible responses to moves by Israel to annex land in the West Bank with the United States' support.

In the video conference, some European foreign ministers suggested that the EU begin mapping joint projects with Israel that could be damaged by unilateral steps that violate international law, alongside conveying positive messages to the new Israeli government about the possibility of "turning a new page" with Europe.

Bulgaria's foreign minister also proposed inviting Israel's incoming foreign minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, to the next meeting. 

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Haaretz has learned that conversations are currently underway with the union's commission on the future of Israel's inclusion in a series of funding and cooperation projects on education and science, including Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus Plus student exchange, initiatives with high academic and research significance.

Excluding Israel from these projects would not require a consensus among the member states, so central and eastern European countries that generally assist Israel in vetoing motions – such as Hungary and the Czech Republic – cannot prevent it.

The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said after the meeting that the discussion dealt with, among other things, the Middle East and the establishment of the new Israeli government: "We look forward to working comprehensively and constructively with them."