Volume 20 (2015) / Issue 2/1
This article deals with the resistance of France, Germany and the United Kingdom (EU3) to comply with the EU norms regarding the (future) borders of Israel and Palestine. To do so, it focuses on two cases studies: the issue of Israel’s exports to the EU originating from the settlements, and EU companies operating in settlements in East Jerusalem. The EU3’s reactions differ when it comes to ensure the implementation of the EU soft law regarding the two state solution, and more particularly the issue of future borders. Yet, they all reflect the Member States’ resistance to directly enforce CFSP norms on this matter. In the case of a territorial dispute, the EU’s soft and hard laws are de facto intertwined through EU external action. As matter of fact, the rule of origin defined in EU free trade agreements with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority strongly relies on CFSP positions regarding their future borders. This article argues that conflicting objectives related to this issue between Member States and the EU and among national actors account for the EU3’s resistance attitudes. In other words, a certain form of cognitive distance – the fourth hypothesis of the introduction – between the content of EU norms and Member States’ objectives affects the implementation of CFSP norms. In this case, Germany’s reaction to the Brita case demonstrates its unwillingness to take direct responsibility for setting a precedent regarding the sensitive case of Israeli exports from the settlements, due to its special relationship with Israel. France’s cautious reaction is more particularly related to the latent conflict within its population about this issue. The United Kingdom’s preference for the labelling solution illustrates its liberal nature and its willingness to let British consumers assume the responsibility to decide, though this solution proves difficult to implement in fact. Yet, this article also shows that these resistance attitudes can also lead to the renegotiation of the means of implementation of CFSP norms on this matter, and potentially to their strengthening.
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