EU backs further labelling of Israeli settlement products

Label telling consumer that dates are from the West Bank

Label telling consumer that dates are from the West Bank

European Union foreign ministers – including British Foreign Secretary William Hague – have backed plans to implement further labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Britain was one of 12 states to write to EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton pledging to assist the union in the “important work” of labelling.

The step follows the publication of labelling guidelines by the EU last year and ongoing discussions in member states over the issue.

Israel has repeatedly said that special labelling of West Bank goods would be discriminatory and a form of boycott.

In the letter to Baroness Ashton the foreign ministers of countries including France, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and Austria wrote that the policy would be “an important step to ensure correct and coherent application of EU consumer protection and labelling legislation”.

Baroness Ashton is yet to respond to the letter, which was sent earlier this month and made public last week.

In 2009 the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued voluntary guidance to stores stating that labels on items imported to Britain from the West Bank should differentiate between “Israeli settlement produce” and “Palestinian produce”.

Last October 22 NGOs released a report recommending the EU stop importing Israeli settlement goods.

Last updated: 11:06am, April 25 2013