Brussels, 13.12.2021

COM(2021) 783 final

2021/0412(NLE)

Proposal for a

COUNCIL DECISION

on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union in the Joint Committee established by the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the European Community, of the one part,
and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part,
concerning the extension of the EU – PA Action Plan


EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1.Subject matter of the proposal

This proposal concerns the decision establishing the position to be taken on the Union's behalf in the Joint Committee established by the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation ("Interim Association Agreement") between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part, in connection with the envisaged adoption of a recommendation concerning the extension of the EU-PA Action Plan.

2.Context of the proposal

2.1.The Interim Association Agreement

The Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the EU and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (‘the Agreement’) from 1997 forms the legal basis for the bilateral relations between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The agreement provides for duty-free access to EU markets for Palestinian industrial goods, and a phase-out of tariffs on EU exports to Palestine 1* over five years. Pursuant art 1, the Agreement aims to:

provide an appropriate framework for a comprehensive dialogue, allowing the development of close relations between the Parties.

establish the conditions for the progressive liberalisation of trade.

foster the development of balanced economic and social relations between the Parties through dialogue and cooperation.

contribute to the social and economic development of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

encourage regional cooperation with a view to the consolidation of a peaceful coexistence and economic and social stability.

promote cooperation in other areas that are of reciprocal interest.

The Agreement entered into force on 1 July 1997.

2.2.The Joint Committee

The Joint Committee is established in art 63 of the Interim Association Agreement. It has the power to take decisions in the cases provided in the Agreement as well as in other cases necessary for the purpose of attaining the objectives set out therein. The decisions taken shall be binding on the Parties. The office of Chairman of the Joint Committee shall be held alternately by the EU and the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the conditions laid down in the rules of procedure and shall meet at least once a year and when circumstances require on the initiative of its Chairman.

2.3.The envisaged act of the Joint Committee

The Joint Committee is to adopt a recommendation concerning the extension of the EU-PA Action Plan (the 'envisaged act'). In accordance with Article 10 of the Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee, the recommendation will be adopted by written procedure.

The purpose of the envisaged act is to extend by three years the validity of the EU – PA Action plan to ensure the continuation of cooperation between the two parties. The envisaged act will become binding on the parties in accordance with Article 63 of the Interim Association Agreement, which provides that the Joint Committee may take decisions and make appropriate recommendations.

3.Position to be taken on the Union's behalf

The position to be adopted by the European Union in the Joint Committee established by the Interim Association Agreement on the adoption of a recommendation on the three-year extension of the EU-PA Action Plan is based on the text of the recommendation annexed to this Decision.

Both parties have repeatedly confirmed the richness and vitality of relations between the European Union and PA and their full commitment to the continued development of the latter in all areas of mutual interest.

The extension of the Action Plan is therefore in the interest of the Parties.

4.Legal basis

4.1.Procedural legal basis

4.1.1.Principles

Article 218(9) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for decisions establishing ‘the positions to be adopted on the Union’s behalf in a body set up by an agreement, when that body is called upon to adopt acts having legal effects, with the exception of acts supplementing or amending the institutional framework of the agreement.’

The concept of ‘acts having legal effects’ includes acts that have legal effects by virtue of the rules of international law governing the body in question. It also includes instruments that do not have a binding effect under international law, but that are ‘capable of decisively influencing the content of the legislation adopted by the EU legislature 2 .

4.1.2.Application to the present case

The Joint Committee is a body set up by an agreement, namely the Interim Association Agreement.

The act which the Joint Committee is called upon to adopt constitutes an act having legal effects.

The envisaged act has legal effects because it will extend the current EU – PA Action Plan for three years.

The envisaged act does not supplement or amend the institutional framework of the Agreement.

Therefore, the procedural legal basis for the proposed decision is Article 218(9) TFEU.

4.2.Substantive legal basis

4.2.1.Principles

The substantive legal basis for a decision under Article 218(9) TFEU depends primarily on the objective and content of the envisaged act in respect of which a position is taken on the Union's behalf. If the envisaged act pursues two aims or has two components and if one of those aims or components is identifiable as the main one, whereas the other is merely incidental, the decision under Article 218(9) TFEU must be founded on a single substantive legal basis, namely that required by the main or predominant aim or component.

4.2.2.Application to the present case

The main objective and content of the envisaged act relate to cooperation with a third country, in the framework of an interim association agreement, adopted on the basis of current Articles 207 and 209 TFEU, and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Therefore, the substantive legal basis of the proposed decision are Articles 207 and 209 TFEU.

4.3.Conclusion

The legal bases of the proposed decision should be Articles 207 and 209 in conjunction with Article 218(9) TFEU.

5.Publication of the envisaged act

As the act of the Joint Committee will amend the duration of the EU – PA Action Plan, it is appropriate to publish it in the Official Journal of the European Union after its adoption, in accordance with Rules of Procedure of the EU – PA Joint Committee.

2021/0412 (NLE)

Proposal for a

COUNCIL DECISION

on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union in the Joint Committee established by the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the European Community, of the one part,
and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part,

concerning the extension of the EU – PA Action Plan

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 207 and 209 in conjunction with Article 218(9) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1)The Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the European Community (‘the Agreement’), of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part, was concluded by the Union by Council Decision on 24th February 1997 and entered into force on 1st July 1997,

(2)The Parties agree the current Action Plan continues to reflect the privileged EU-PA partnership and to support the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement,

(3)Pursuant to Article 63 of the Agreement, the Joint Committee may take decisions and may make appropriate recommendations,

(4)The Joint Committee is to adopt the recommendation on the extension by three years of the EU – PA Action Plan by written procedure,

(5)It is appropriate to establish the position to be taken on the Union's behalf within the Joint Committee as the recommendation will have legal effects,

(6)The extension of the Action Plan for three years will give the Parties full opportunity to take forward their cooperation for the coming years, including through possible negotiation of partnership priorities.

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

The Union position within the Joint Committee established by the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Co-operation between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part, with regard to the extension of the EU-PA ENP Action Plan shall be based on the draft recommendation of the Joint Committee attached to this Decision.

Article 2

This Decision is addressed to the Commission and the High Representative.

Done at Brussels,

   For the Council

   The President

(1) * This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue
(2)    Judgment of the Court of Justice of 7 October 2014, Germany v Council, C-399/12, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2258, paragraphs 61 to 64.

Brussels, 13.12.2021

COM(2021) 783 final

ANNEX

to the

Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION

on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union in the Joint Committee established by the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
of the other part, concerning the extension of the EU – PA Action Plan


















ANNEX

RECOMMENDATION Nº xxx OF THE EU-PLO JOINT COMMITTEE approving the extension of the EU-PA Action Plan [XXX 2021]

THE EU-PLO JOINT COMMITTEE,

Having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on trade and cooperation between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part (‘the Interim Association Agreement’),

Whereas:

(1)The Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part (the 'Interim Association Agreement'), was signed on 24 February 1997 and entered into force on 1 July 1997.

(2)Pursuant to Article 63 of the Interim Association Agreement, the Joint Committee may take decisions and make appropriate recommendations.

(3)Article 10 of the Rules of Procedures of the Joint Committee provides for the possibility of taking decisions by written procedure between sessions if both Parties so agree.

(4)The extension of the EU-PA Action Plan for three years will give the Parties the opportunity to take forward their cooperation for the coming years, including through the possible negotiation of partnership priorities.

RECOMMENDS:

Article 1

The Joint Committee, acting by written procedure, recommends that the EU-PA Action Plan be extended for three years as of the day of the adoption of its extension.

Article 2

This Recommendation shall take effect on the date of its adoption.

Done at xx, [xxxxx 2021].

For the EU-PLO Joint Committee

The Chairperson

***