The Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) and the European Leadership Network (ELNET) EU & NATO successfully held their Fourth EU-Israel Strategic Dialogue in close cooperation with our Brussels partner, the European Policy Centre (EPC), on the thematic focus of “The EU and Israel in a volatile global environment.” The EU and Israel have more in common than ever before, but the relationship doesn’t improve as it should, which could be due to a lack of a proper dialogue and understanding and too much public “bad talk,” as stated by a speaker at the dialogue. That is why it was even more important to hold our EU-Israel Strategic Dialogue in order to enable an intensive, serious, qualitative and honest exchange between Israelis and Europeans.
“The Dialogue strengthens the understanding that this cooperation is strategic, even if it’s often challenging.”Participant
The participants focused in the several sessions on the consequences of the changing world order, which was characterized by global power rivalries, the weakening of democratic-liberal values, the rise of nationalist-populist trends, and a lack of stability and prosperity. There was an interest and room for an enhanced EU-Israel policy dialogue on security, innovation, and geopolitcs in the region and beyond. Participants discussed geopolitical turmoil and instability in the Middle East, including Iran’s regional activities and nuclear ambitions, the situation in Syria and the destabilizing role of Hezbollah. With regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the exchanges centered around the multi-dimensional nature of the conflict, issues of narrative and identity, as well as interim solutions in the absence of negotiations. Participants agreed there is room to further develop EU-Israel cooperation beyond science and innovation, including security cooperation, crisis management, and energy. Moreover, there is an urgent need to have an official EU-Israel dialogue on a range of major policy issues such as Syria, Hezbollah, counter-terrorism, Iran, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the discussions, the participants were addressed by keynote speakers Amb. Susanna Terstal, EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process; and Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
“I understand there is a wider area of potential cooperation between Israel and the EU; beyond the areas of conflict.”Participant