Delegation of the European Union to Israel

Israel and the EU

12/05/2016 - 10:09
EU relations with Country

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. 


Trade relations are governed by a Free Trade Agreement that is part of the 2000 EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The EU is Israel's largest trade market and accounts for about a third of Israel's total trade. Israel is the EU's most important trading partner in the Mediterranean area, and was ranked as the EU's 24th trade partner globally in 2016. The most traded goods are chemicals and related products, machinery and transport equipment and manufactured goods.

The EU and Israel have continuously worked on improving trade and economic relations and have signed several agreements to that end:

  • Agreement on agriculture and fisheries which greatly improved market access (2010)
  • "Open Skies" aviation agreement (fully entered into force in 2018) which further opened EU-Israel air travel and the related Eurocontrol association agreement (2016) which helps to coordinate air traffic and ensures security
  • Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA) which currently brings mutual recognition of pharmaceutical certification

The sides regularly hold sub-committee meetings which strengthen cooperation. The EU also supports the Israeli market reform process, aimed at lowering the cost of living and including market entry conditions for exported goods, with best practices and support to align Israeli legislation with EU legislation.

The EU and Israel jointly work to protect the environment and to support the implementation of the Paris agreement on climate change. We work together in international forums and in the EU's regional environmental and climate change programmes. 

More info on EU trade with Israel, can be found here


Israel benefits from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), which provides most of the funding under European Neighbourhood Policy.  For the period 2014-2020, the sum of 2 million euros per annum in ENI funding is foreseen for cooperation with the government of Israel to cover Twinning projects.  Israeli non-governmental bodies are eligible for support under a variety of programmes funded under ENI and other EU budgets. For more information see Projects.

Israel benefits from Erasmus+ , the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport.

Israel has been associated to the EU Research and Technological Development Framework Programmes since 1996. The agreement on Israel's participation in the Horizon 2020 programme was signed in June 2014.

Editorial Sections: