The European Neighborhood Policy and Israel: Achievements and Disappointments

22 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2014

See all articles by Arie Reich

Arie Reich

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 22, 2014


Over a decade has passed since the EU launched its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and nine years since the Action Plan with Israel was adopted. Politicians on both sides talked about a deep economic integration, “a stake in the internal market”, “everything but institutions”, and an interconnection between Israel and the EU that could be as close as what the EU has with countries like Norway or Iceland in the European Economic Area. This article aims to examine to what extent the great hopes with which the ENP was greeted both in the EU and in Israel have materialized, in particular in the field of international trade and economic integration. The article compares the actual achievements with the original goals of the ENP Action Plan and finds more disappointments than achievements. Among the achievements, the article describes and analyzes the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance for industrial products concluded in 2012 and the bilateral aviation agreement (“Open Skies”), as well as Israel’s accession and successful participation in the EU scientific research and technical development programs (including the “Horizon 2020”). The list of what could and should have been done, however, is longer and more disappointing, and it includes issues such as trade facilitation through modernization of customs administration, revision of outdated protectionist rules of origin, and the EU’s failure to contribute to peace in the Middle East by refusing to recognize diagonal cumulation of origin between Israel and its neighbors. Likewise, the lack of any progress on important topics such as competition rules, public procurement, trade in financial and professional services, e-commerce and investment, to name a few, outweighs the few achievements that can be noted. The article then proceeds to discuss the possible reasons for these disappointing results.

Keywords: European Neighborhood Policy, Israel, European Union, Economic Integration, Customs Administration, Horizon 2020, Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance; Aviation Agreement

JEL Classification: F02, F13, F15

Suggested Citation

Reich, Arie, The European Neighborhood Policy and Israel: Achievements and Disappointments (November 22, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Arie Reich (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900
+972 3 5318416 (Phone)
+972 3 5351856 (Fax)

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