ECI: New EU Parliament could become more pro-Israel

Von der Leyen, Weber 2024

Brussels, June 18th, 2024 – While meeting with US partners and policy makers in New York and Washington DC last week, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell made his first comments on the outcome of the European Parliament elections in an interview with European Jewish Press over the weekend before returning to Europe on Monday.

In the interview with Belgian journalist Yossi Lempkowicz, Sandell concluded that “the election result indicates that the new European Parliament has the potential of becoming more pro-Israel.” His assessment is based on ECI’s Israel vote ranking which was released in Brussels in April prior to the EU elections on 6-9 June. The ranking revealed that those parties which gained more seats in the elections (European Conservatives and Reformists, ECR +7 and Identity & Democracy, ID +9 and European Peoples’ Party +14 seats) are also the most Israel friendly in the European Parliament whereas the Greens, the Left and the Liberals which are more anti-Israel suffered losses (Greens -19 and Liberal Renew -22 seats).

“Instead of dismissing the far-right parties that made electoral gains, I think we should at least give them a chance and relate to them party by party, country by country and not generalize”, Sandell said.

He pointed out that “whereas there are reasons to be concerned by the radicalisation of Alternative for Germany (AfD), other far right parties such as Brothers in Italy and Vox in Spain seems to be moving more towards the mainstream.”

The Spanish opposition party Vox topped the ECI Israel vote ranking which was based on the voting records over the last five years among the 196 national parties represented in the European Parliament. The left-wing parties from Spain, Belgium and Ireland turned out to be the most Israel critical.

On Monday night government leaders from the 27 EU member states met for a first consultation in Brussels but without reaching any consensus on who should get the top positions in the new European Union. The main concern for Israel and her friends is now the upcoming appointment of a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The current High Representative Josep Borrell has in recent months been campaigning openly against Israel despite the objection of many leading EU member states. In the interview with EJP, Sandell hoped that the new High Representative could come from a Central Eastern European country “since these leaders have a more realistic assessment of how to relate to totalitarian regimes like Russia or Iran instead of hiding between a policy of appeasement. This would benefit both Israel and Ukraine.”

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