This article identifies a common thread throughout the sixty years of European-Israeli relations, namely a gap that has prevailed between the lofty rhetoric of the EU regarding envisaged special trade relations and its much more modest willingness/ability to establish such relations. At various junctures of these relations (three of which are analysed in this article), turgid European promises were not fully realized. Consequently, a wide gap has been created between rhetoric and concrete actions and between the de jure and de facto economic and trade value of the legal regimes governing EU-Israel bilateral relations. The article reveals that gap and offers a typology and analysis of various factors which contributed to the creation and widening of the Expectations-Delivery Gap.
Göbel, Benedict. “The Israeli Lobby for Research and Innovation in the European Union. An Example of Efficient Cooperation in the European Neighbourhood?” Bruges Political Research Papers 49/2015 (2016).
Israel figures among the world-leaders in R&D expenditure and has a high-performing scientific community. Since the 1990s it has been associated with the Scientific Policy of the European Union via the European Research Framework Programmes (FP). The cooperation between Israel and the EU in this domain has gradually increased and benefits the scientific communities on both sides. In 2014 the association of Israel to the latest and biggest European FP ever adopted (Horizon 2020) was renewed for the fourth time. Based on all the scientific evidence provided, the elaboration of a European Research Policy can be identified as a highly regulated domain, offering relevant ‘channels of influence’. These channels offer Israel the opportunity to act within the Research Policy system. Being a member of several formal EU bodies in charge of implementing EU Research Policy, Israel is able to introduce its positions effectively. This is accompanied by an outstanding level of activity by Israel in linking concrete EU Research Policy measures to the Israeli Scientific Community at the national level. To carry out this task, Israel relies on an effective organization, which remodels the provided EU structures: European ‘National Contact Points’ (NCPs) are concentrated within the ‘Europe Israel R&D Directorate’ (ISERD). ISERD connects efficiently all the relevant actors, forums and phases of EU-Israeli Research Policy. ISERD can be recognized as being at the heart of Israel’s research cooperation with the EU.
When it was inaugurated in 1995, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership presented a vision of political cooperation, economic development, and cultural understanding between Europe, Arab countries, and Israel. The atmosphere was one of relative optimism, both in Europe and the Middle East. Ten years later, the regional approach took a back seat and the main emphasis was placed on a more bilateral framework, with the introduction of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). Following the big wave of European Union enlargement, the gravitational force pulling neighboring countries to the EU was at its peak. The objective was to extend the zone of peace and prosperity beyond its enlarged borders.
Today, at the beginning of 2016, this vision seems to be a faraway dream. In the Middle East and North Africa, the upheavals in Arab countries have brought about growing instability and bloodshed. This situation presents important humanitarian challenges, including major refugee flows within the region and into Europe. Terrorist organizations are exploiting the current situation to spread hatred and commit acts of violence.
In view of this dramatic, unsettling reality, there is a clear need to examine the flaws in the implementation of the ENP and to rethink its most basic elements. A new strategy should include effective tools with which to solidify meaningful cooperation between like-minded countries.