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The relationship between the EU and Israel has a long history that is common and cemented through increasing interdependence and cooperation. This has been fostered by their similar values of democracy, rule of law and freedom. Several agreements have been signed between the two with the legal framework for to be used in the relations issued by the EU - Israel association agreement which was signed on 20th November 1995 in Brussels. This agreement was later replaced in 1st June 2000 by a ratification of the 15 EU member state parliaments.
This agreement reinforced other agreements that were in operation between the two parties such as the free trade agreements in the late 1970s that strengthened the ties and ensured mutual diplomatic relations. The decade 2000 - 2010 therefore had more to offer on the menu to foster the good relations thus making it better or even best.
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Diplomatic relations can at times be a difficult affair especially for two regions that have various differences; but the EU and Israel have beaten all odds to ensure the regions mutually benefit. The diplomatic ties between the EU and Israel have been so far mutual with the EU focusing on building Israel to a better place. The European Neighborhood Policy acted as a platform for the decade that enhances better political and economic interdependence between the region and Israel.
The action plan sought to enhance cordial relationships between the two to promote security, stability, and well being; further it went beyond cooperation so as to bring significant levels of economic and political integration. The EU - Israel association agreement enhanced free trade agreements that involved industrial goods and dispensation of sale of agricultural goods. A more comprehensive agreement was also signed in 2004.
The EU Israel action plan of 1st May 2004 was based on partnership, differentiation, and joint ownership. Its objectives were set to cover all factors and values of diplomacy that would affect both the EU and Israel. According to the EU Israel action plan in the dialogue states "Israel and the EU are committed to achieve closer political co-operation and dialogue on the basis of their common values: the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, good governance and international humanitarian law. Both parties are committed to join efforts to combat common security threats, to promote peace and stability in the Middle East, to support the work of international multilateral frameworks and co-operate in these fora. The EU and Israel are also firmly committed to promote regional co-operation, as a way to address the challenges of a trans-boundary nature." p.4
Based on these commitment that occurred in 2004 the EU and Israel agreed to cooperate to pursue the goals they share together such as; democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, warfare on anti-Semitism, and war on racism and xenophobia e.g. Islamophobia.
The threat of terrorism characterized the decade 2000 -2010 with major acts of terrorism around the world reported during this period e.g. the 9/11 attacks, Israel has also been struggling with Hezbollah attacks and its security under threat from Palestinian attacks and a collapsed peace pact between Hamas. This decade would be better for Israel to strengthen ties to help protect its sovereignty and economic survival from a global financial crisis that hit in 2004/05. The action plan designed in 2004 addressed these issues and thus better relationships were formed.
The Environmental Neighborhood Policy was developed in 2005 for 3 years, this was later extended in 2008 and it has augured well for the two parties. This policy majored on peace sustainability and fighting terrorism in the Middle East region; it strengthen the cooperation and their capability to fight terrorism, settling the Israel/Palestinian war, upholding of human rights including fighting racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. It also aimed at better relations to share in the field of science and technology through educational exchange programs and research, and energy policies. The goals of the ENP were to promote the values of EU and the interests that ensured economic and political participation through instruments such as; Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), support and operations. This ensured solidarity, security, prosperity, and sustainable development globally.
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The EU has supported Israel economically and politically for this decade with many Euros beig channeled to Israel as financial aid and trade agreements. Several policies develop in this decade has supported the long relationship between the two and the two action plans i.e. the associan agreement of 2000 and the European Neighborhood Policy of 2004 have been outstanding. The mutual understanding has remained despite major threats of security in the Middle East this shows how strong the diplomatic ties are. These policies have been built on past agreements that are renewed again and again to tackle the current threats and suit the times.
The decade has however fewer establishments of an action plan that involves the major crisis of global climatic change and the mutual way to tackle it. The agreements have established a trend of fighting terrorism, racism xenophobia and Islamophobia that face the two parties. The major question on the policies of this decade can be posed whether they are just mutual or an alignment to fight a global threat in the region. Their deeper meaning should be established which will help identify the main benefits each region gets from the policies. Despite all odds the policies has strengthened the bilateral ties between EU and Israel.