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Good News and Bad News in Israel Relationship with Europe

Eastern European Prime Ministers Arrive for Top Level Meetings

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Posted on: 
19 Feb 2019 (All day)
Good News and Bad News in Israel Relationship with Europe
Economy Minister Eli Cohen and British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox signed a trade agreement in Tel Aviv on Monday to continue normal relations following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Also on Monday, a summit of the Visegrad-4 (V-4) group planned to be held in Jerusalem in the near future was cancelled following a diplomatic row between Israel and Poland, the V-4 groups largest member. 

“More important even than the agreement itself is what it says about our future relationship,” said Fox at the ceremony where the agreement was signed. “And about the way in which we will be able to cooperate in the future, not just on trade, which has improved enormously in recent years, but also on investments in both directions…We had more venture capital and tech come to London in the past year than the whole of France, Germany and Sweden put together. So clearly, with the sort of innovation that comes out of Israel, there’s enormous potential for us to work together for our mutual benefit.”

Meanwhile, the row between Israel and Poland, which was triggered on Thursday by comments Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to the effect that some Polish people cooperated with the Nazi’s to carry out the Holocaust during WWII while visiting a Holocaust memorial in Warsaw, was quickly devolving into a full-blown crisis on Tuesday. Diplomats and officials in both countries were quick to back their leaders positions, while also openly searching for a way out of the crisis.

However, although the crisis has already resulted in the V-4 meeting being cancelled and Polish officials announcing they will not be visiting Israel in the near future as planned, the prime ministers of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all arrived in Israel Monday evening and held meetings with senior Israeli officials throughout the day Tuesday.