The European Union and Israel share a long common history, marked by growing interdependence and cooperation. Both share the same values of democracy, respect for freedom and rule of law and are committed to an open international economic system based on market principles. Over five decades of trade, cultural exchanges, political cooperation and a developed system of agreements have cemented these relations.
The legal basis for relations is the EU-Israel Association Agreement that entered force in 2000. This includes provisions on regular political dialogue, on freedom of establishment and liberalisation of services, the free movement of capital and competition rules and the strengthening of economic and social cooperation. The agreement states that the respect for human rights and democratic principles is an essential element of the agreement. It also establishes an Association Council held at the level of ministers of foreign affairs to be supported by an Association Committee.
EU-Israel relations are underpinned by the 2005 Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Action Plan aims to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes and also established 10 sub-committees that meet regularly to discuss priorities and exchange views.