Foreign Minister Ashkenazi talks with his counterparts were used to advance the issue and a special headquarters was set up to ensure a majority in the EU
Minister Ashkenazi met with his German counterpart Haiku Mas. Introductory talks were utilized to advance the issue
Oren Ben Hakun
Special headquarters in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, running all Israeli embassies in Europe and hundreds of persuasive talks to MPs - this is how the diplomatic campaign to ratify the "open sky" agreement between Israel and the EU was conducted.
Yesterday morning, 437 supporters against 102 European MPs voted against the agreement. This finally ratified the agreement, which significantly reduced the prices of flights to Europe.
According to EU regulations, since the implementation of the agreement in 2013, all the parliaments of 27 EU companies have been required to approve it. The process has recently ended and the agreement has returned to the European Parliament. Although this is a technical process, and in an agreement that has also greatly benefited European businesses, Israeli rivals in March have vigorously organized to prevent its ratification. "Instead of talking about aviation, the debate very quickly went on to talk about Israel's attitude," said a diplomat who details.
Photo Archive: Israir
But on the Israeli side, we did not intend to surrender. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi set up a post of headquarters with a view to ensuring that the agreement receives a majority in parliament. Ashkenazi himself took advantage of the introductory talks he had with many of his colleagues in Europe, raising the issue and asking for the support of their country's representatives. Ashkenazi also recruited Minister Amir Peretz to work with the Social Democratic delegates in parliament, as well as Finance Minister Israel Katz, who served as the Minister of Transport during the implementation of the agreement.
At the same time, the Israeli delegation entered the EU for a record effort. The Ambassador, Ronnie Lashano-Forest, and his staff, held hundreds of talks with MPs in Brussels. At the same time, Israeli diplomats all over Europe have approached the MPs from the countries in which they are serving, highlighting the importance of supporting the agreement.
Due to the sheer size of Parliament, it was impossible to know the trend. The drama continued until yesterday when the voting took place and the agreement was ratified. As it turned out, the Foreign Office's results were breathtaking, as stopping the Open Sky Agreement was a cause of damage to aviation and trade relations with Europe.
Israeli Ambassador to the European Union, Roni Leshano Yaar, said that "ratification of the Open Sky Agreement is an important achievement for both the EU, Israel as well as for tourism and mutual business.