BRUSSELS (Dec. 15)
The leaders of the 12-member European Union have agreed to upgrade economic relations with Israel, a move that will give Israeli companies broader latitude for trading with Europe.
The European Union — the new name of the European Community following the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty — also reaffirmed its readiness to fully support the Middle East peace process and the Palestinian self-rule accord.
The announcements came at the group’s end-of-year summit, held here last weekend.
The economic agreement will establish closer ties between Israel and the E.U. in areas that include trade, science, and research and development.
Since 1975, Israel has had a free-trade agreement with the countries of what was then called the Common Market.
Negotiations on Israel’s new status are expected to start early in 1994.