The EU-Israel ACAA: This is no time for playing politics

This is a cross post from the The Board of Deputies by Jamie Slavin

The fiscal crisis currently engulfing the EU is well documented, so to claim that there is something which the EU simply cannot afford is perhaps a cliché.

But the Agreement on Conformity Assessment an Acceptance (ACAA) between the EU and Israel is a piece of technical legislation which the EU really cannot afford to be without.

The ACAA is a technical agreement acknowledging that Israeli safety checks on medicines conform to those which the EU itself has in place. It would negate the need for duplicating checks and would therefore reduce costs and the time taken for Israeli drugs to reach the market.

The convoluted arguments used by those opposed to the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance (ACAA) between the EU and Israel are breath-taking in their inaccuracy.

Rather than prioritise the healthcare of EU citizens, those opposed to this piece of technical legislation claim that passing the ACAA would put the EU’s trade position in conflict with its foreign and human rights policy.

Their argument was shown to be fatuous when the legal services of three separate EU institutions confirmed that the ACAA conforms with EU law. Karel De Gucht, the EU’s Trade Commissioner, stated that:

The Commission considers that the current ACAA text is compliant with the Lisbon treaty and international law and that no change or renegotiation is necessary.

So, the ACAA complies with international law, complies with the Lisbon Treaty (which calls for trade, foreign and human rights policy to be in harmony) and would save European citizens literally billions of Euros.

And yet some still oppose it.

European patients use 1,186 doses of medicines produced by the Israeli company Teva every second. One estimate suggests that by passing the ACAA, Members of the European Parliament would save health care providers €10 billion a year.

And what’s more, this is not a matter of the ACAA opening up the European market to Israeli companies where no access already exists. Israeli pharmaceuticals compete in the EU against those produced by every other nation – the ACAA simply means that when a provider selects an Israeli medicine from the many on offer, that patient will pay less.

The ACAA between the EU and Israel should not be a matter to play politics with. In these difficult financial times especially, the EU simply cannot afford to be without it.



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