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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 21, 2003

this will ruffle some feathers!

Israel and the EU

UPI: The visiting delegation from the European Union was startled this week when Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his government was weighing an application to join the EU.

"It doesn't mean he is preparing the dossier for applying tomorrow," an Israeli spokesman said. "In principle, the minister thinks a possibility exists for Israel to join the EU, since Israel and Europe share similar economies and democratic values."

For Israel, EU membership would mean an end to the regional isolation it suffers, and a strong security guarantee, along with all the economic advantages of the vast EU market. Joining the EU would presumably mean joining the euro, shielding Israel from the kinds of currency crises that have hit the shekel since the intifada battered its important tourism industry.

For the EU, Israel's impressive high-tech industry could be useful, but any economic advantages to Israeli membership would have to be balanced against the wider political costs to the EU, unless the Jewish state's relationship with its Arab neighbors is transformed.

note: for full account of this, see http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030521-112245-2333r