- Make us your homepage -
Simplified ChineseTraditional Chinese

Latest Update

Israel, Visegrad Four call for renewal of EU-Israel ties

Updated: 07 20 , 2017 15:13
Xinhua Small  Medium  Large Email Print

BUDAPEST, July 19 -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the support of the leaders of the Visegrad Four (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) regarding the critics of the European Union (EU) against Israel, in a joint press conference held here on Wednesday.

Netanyahu is on an official visit in Hungary, the first by an Israeli prime minister in 30 years.

"I expressed appreciation for the positions taken by the Visegrad countries on several occasions for representing this position about Israel to the countries of Europe, there is an anomaly, I don't like it, we are often criticized by Europe, often more than any other place by western Europe, often by more than any other place in the world," he said.

The EU had critized the Israeli government for hindering the peace process in the Middle East by building settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Calling Israel "a bastion of European and Western values" in Middle East, he called for a "reassessment" in Europe about the relationship with Israel.

"We have much to offer in the realm of security, in technology, this is not only good for us but also I believe good for you," he said.

The host of the meeting, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban thanked Israel for its efforts in keeping Europe safe. "Once again we reiterate our acknowledgement towards Israel for what it does for the security of Europe, in the future we would propose that the cooperation between the EU and Israel becomes better," he said.

"If Europe does not cooperate with Israel it is punishing itself which is pointless, therefore we propose in the upcoming period that Israel and EU cooperation should return to the realm of common sense," Orban concluded.

Besides the ties between Europe and Israel, the other leaders of the Visegrad Four brought up subjects regarding the quality of foods within the EU.

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico said he was mandated by the Visegrad Four to start talks next Thursday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker about the quality of foods, arguing that the citizens of the Visegrad Four feel themselves as "second grade citizens" due to the lower quality of food they often get from Western European producers. He hoped that the EU would adopt new regulations that would remedy that situation.

His Czech colleague Bohuslav Sobotka backed him up: "We don't want that the producers send the same product in different qualities in different countries." He called for a solution that was not to interfere with the functioning of the common market.

About Israel, Sobotka told that the talks between the Visegrad Four and Israel concerning the fight against terrorism, the illegal migration and Syria were very important, and the propositions of Israel to be supported by the Visegrad Four.

He also said that potential cooperation between Israel and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were possible in the fields of water management and cyber security.

Beata Szydlo, prime minister of Poland said that beside the question of the quality of food, the subject of legal status of workers from the Visegrad Four in western Europe was a key issue, where the Visegrad Four would seek common representation as a group.

She also pushed for deeper cooperation with Israel in the fields of security, migration and fight against terrorism.

Related Stories