EU Parliament certifies Israeli pharmaceuticals

THE HAGUE (JTA) — The European Parliament has voted in favor of simplifying the sale of Israeli pharmaceuticals within the European Union.

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With Tuesday’s vote in Strasbourg, France, the parliament approved “a very important technical-commercial agreement,” Yigal Palmor, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told JTA in an email.

“The agreement recognizes that the standards of the Israeli pharmaceuticals industry is equal to that of European standards,” he said. The vote means that Israeli medicines can be marketed in Europe without delay and without further control, which is how European pharmaceuticals are marketed in Israel.

Palmor also said that the agreement got “stuck” for two years in the European Parliament channels “because of external political objections” and was adopted after “many efforts by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of Israel’s embassies in EU member countries, and particularly by the Israeli mission to the European Union.”

A majority of 379 European parliament members voted in favor of approving the agreement and 240 voted against. Forty lawmakers abstained.

The European Council approved the agreement in March 2010, but its implementation had been blocked amid protests by pro-Palestinian organizations. The agreement was part of the of the 1995 EU-Israel trade contract and is not a part of the upgrade in relations that Israel is seeking.
   

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