STRASBOURG, France (Jul. 11)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel has been invited to address the European Parliament, the European Community’s legislative body, based here.
No date was announced. But the invitation, extended by the president of the Parliament, Enrique Baron Crespo, to a visiting Knesset delegation is symptomatic of rapidly improving relations between the E.C. and the Jewish state.
That was underlined by the invitation Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky sent Baron Crespo, a Spanish Socialist, to visit Israel, possibly in October.
A visit by the head of the European Parliament would be especially significant, considering that only last year the Parliament was the E.C. institution most sharply critical of Israel’s policies in the administered territories.
The Parliament, in fact, recommended a freeze on European scientific cooperation with Israel, which the European Executive Commission adopted.
The sanction was lifted only last January, after Israel’s restraint while under Scud missile attack by Iraq won it Europe’s praise.
The visiting Knesset group representing various parties is headed by Reuven Rivlin of Likud.
The Knesset delegation was invited to Strasbourg to mark the first anniversary of the creation of the Israel-Europe group within the European Assembly, which consists of members of European parliaments from a variety of political parties.
The group is headed by Willy de Clercq, a liberal member of Parliament from Belgium who is a former Cabinet minister and former European commissioner.
E.C. ENVOY LEAVING POST
Meanwhile, the diplomatic community, along with Belgian Jewry, was surprised to learn this week that Israel’s ambassador to Belgium and the E.C., Avi Primor, will be returning to Israel two years before his present tour of duty expires.
Primor, who came to Brussels in 1987, is widely admired for his diplomatic skills. He is presently in Jerusalem attending talks between top government officials and the European commissioner for Mediterranean affairs, Abel Matutes.
Primor will remain there for the visit later in the week by Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens.
Primor reportedly asked to be relieved of his post by the end of September to return to Israel, where he may join the Hebrew University as its vice chairman in charge of international relations.
After his departure, Israel will have two envoys in Brussels — one accredited to Belgium and Luxembourg and the other exclusively to the E.C.
The new ambassador to Belgium, already named, is Yitzhak Meir, a career diplomat of Belgian origin.
No one has been appointed ambassador to the E.C., but the most likely candidate seems to be Mordechai Drori, currently Israel’s ambassador to Italy, who will be replaced by Avi Pazner, chief press spokesman for Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.