The European Union Foreign Affairs Council voted unanimously to resume Association Council meetings with Israel, the last of which was held in 2012.

The ministers “agreed that the Association Council is the highest forum for our bilateral relations,” E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said of the decision made during the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday.

“The position of the European Union has not changed with respect to the Middle East peace process,” he added. “We continue with the same council conclusion of 2016 supporting the two-state solution. We know that the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories is deteriorating, and I think—and the ministers agreed—that this Association Council would be a good occasion to engage with Israel about these issues.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid hailed the decision, saying, “the fact that 27 E.U. foreign ministers have voted unanimously in favor of strengthening economic and diplomatic ties with Israel is proof of Israel’s diplomatic strength and this government’s ability to create new opportunities with the international community.”

The Association Council is the senior diplomatic body in charge of promoting relations between Israel and the European Union, including in the diplomatic, economic and technology spheres, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Last year, while serving as Israel’s foreign minister, Lapid defined the reconvening of the council as a primary objective for Israel-E.U. relations at a meeting of E.U. foreign ministers, according to the statement.

Monday’s vote is the latest in a series of improvements in Israel-E.U. relations over the past year, including the signing of the Horizon Europe agreement on R&D cooperation and visits to the Jewish state by senior E.U. officials.

Borrell said a date for the council’s next meeting has not been set yet but it will take place after E.U. member states “determine a common European Union position.


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