Elkin Sees Danger of EU Drift

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

Israel and the European Union will drift apart if they cannot compromise on new EU guidelines banning cooperation with Jewish enterprises over the Green Line that could damage research and trade ties, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said.

The two sides must overcome the dispute before the end of November, when a multi-million dollar EU research program called Horizon 2020 is due to be finalized.

If there is no deal, Israel risks missing out on generous funding for its scientists. By the same token, Europe will lose Israeli-know-how, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin said.

“If we fail to resolve this problem, the future direction will be a kind of separation between Israel and the European Union,” Elkin told Reuters in an interview.

“We are the start-up nation. It would be a big mistake for Europe to lose its relations with Israel,” he said.

A senior EU official visited Israel this week, promising that the 28-nation bloc wanted to work closely with Israel and its burgeoning hi-tech economy, but all efforts so far to bridge their differences have failed.