End Israeli access to Horizon and billions in EU funding - Rose Conway-Walsh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has said there is a ‘window of opportunity’ to use the powerful lever of Horizon funding to pressurise Israel to end its apartheid regime.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“Yesterday, the Sinn Féin motion on Palestine received cross-party support, meaning that for the first time in any EU parliament, de facto annexation of Palestinian land has been explicitly recognised.
“The new Horizon fund worth €95.5 billion presents a window of opportunity to hold Israel to account for what the Dáil now recognises as the de facto annexation.
“For Israel to access this funding, and the highly valued research network, they have to renegotiate a bilateral agreement with the European Commission.
“First, the European Commission needs to seek a mandate from the European Council to enter negotiations. This is happening now. The Irish government needs to make it clear in the European Council that they will not support any mandate for negotiating with Israel.
“This a powerful lever to pressurise Israel. Over the last seven years, Israel has received €1.24 billion. For comparison that is €100 million more than Ireland received as a full member of the EU (€1.14 billion).
“Tel Aviv University, a university heavily involved in military research and development, drew down €174 million over the course of the last seven years alone under Horizon. That is €30 million more than any single university in Ireland.
“I have called on the Education Committee, as the Committee of the Oireachtas responsible for Horizon, to write to the European Commission and the Irish government to say that Israel should be denied access to the new fund while it continues to break international law and violate human rights.
“Under Article 16 of the EU regulation establishing Horizon Europe specific criteria for third countries to meet if they want to associate with Horizon Europe. This includes principles like respect for democracy and human rights. As things stand, these do not currently apply to Israel.
“Nevertheless, Israel does have to negotiate a bilateral accession agreement with the EU to access the new Horizon programme. The government must come out and make its position on this matter clear.”