Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the government to proceed with negotiations with the European Union over Israel's participation in the Horizon 2020 program.
Talks over the prestigious research program have recently reached a dead end after the EU rejected an Israeli proposal whereby studies would be conducted within the 1967 borders. The proposal would apply only to the Horizon program and not to other or future projects.
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Consequently Netanyahu convened an urgent ministerial session with Yuval Steinitz, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Shai Piron ahnd Yaakov Peri.
The ministers expressed concern that Israel would not be included in the project, sending hundreds of millions of euros down the drain. It was therefore decided that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will try to reach understandings with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Foreign Minister Lieberman and his deputy advised against joining the program due to the EU ban on entities beyond the 1967 borders.
On the other side of the spectrum, Science Minister Peri said Israel must do everything in its power to reach understandings with the EU in order to join the program. Ministers Bennett and Piron also expressed concern over the current state of relations with the EU.
The crisis began after the EU announced it was banning research institutes situated in the territories. Israel issued a tough response and the parties began negotiating over the Horizon 2020 program. Last week saw Israel putting forward a compromise proposal which was ultimately rejected by the EU.
Minister Lieberman believes Israel should not yield to European pressure and walk away from the program. But Peri demanded an urgent meeting with the prime minister.
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