Belgian Liberal MEP Frederique Ries applauded the vote Tuesday night by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in favour of the EU-Israel "ACAA" agreement.
STRASBOURG/BRUSSELS (EJP)---Belgian Liberal MEP Frederique Ries applauded the vote Tuesday night by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in favour of the EU-Israel "ACAA" agreement.
The approval of the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products, after more than 2,5 years of delay due mainly to political considerations, recognizes Israel industrial standards as equivalents to European standards.
The agreement was first approved in March 2010 in the European Council, the body comprised of the heads of the 27 Member States, before being referred to the European Parliament for its consent.
It was then voted by the parliament’s international trade committee in September and finally got 379 votes in favour against 230 and 41 abstentions in the plenary session in Strasbourg, despite last minute attemps by Socialist and Green MEPs to derail the vote.
The agreement is a protocol added to the 1995 EU-Israel Association Agreement.
An appendix regarding pharmaceutical products was added to the vote in which the European Union recognizes the Israeli pharmaceutical standard.
Israeli pharmaceutical products can now be marketed in the EU without delay or further inspection, in parallel to similar marketing of European drugs in Israel.
" The positive outcome of this vote will facilitate the free movement of medicines between the EU and Israel. This will result on more medicines, including generic medicines, to reach European patients more more quickly giving additional insurances of the quality of these products while allowing national health care authorities to ease budget pressures,”Frederique Ries, who firmly battled in favour of the agreement and repeatedly denounced the "political manoeuvring by the leftist parties," told EJP.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor hailed the approval of this “very important technical-commercial agreement.”
Israel's ambassador to the EU David Walzer said the results of the European Parliament vote amounted to a 'yes' for "deepening the bilateral relations between the EU and Israel".
The American Jewish Comittee Transatlantic Institute in Brussels welcomed that a clear majority of the European Parliament gave its consent to the ACAA agreement « after over two years of unnecessary delays and stall tactics. »
“At its core, this was not a debate on the merits of the agreement. This was about politics,” said the organization’s director Daniel Schwammenthal.
“Some Members of the European Parliament were putting their disagreements with Israel ahead of their obligations to ensure their constituents had fast access to the best and most affordable healthcare, » he said.
“Israeli pharmaceutical companies are at the cutting edge of research, finding innovative treatments that help save lives and reduce suffering. What’s more, through their leadership in the generics market, Israeli medicines help healthcare providers reduce spending while maintaining high quality standards,” said Schwammenthal.
“ACAA is simply about the interests of European patients.”