European Citizens Initiative to Ban Trade with Illegal Settlements

On February 20, 2022, marking the World Day of Social Justice, a coalition of more than 100 civil society organisations, has launched the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. 

The EU opposes annexation and considers illegal settlements in occupied territories as an obstacle to international peace and stability. But even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime, the EU allows trade with them. That trade allows for profits from annexation and contributes to the expansion of illegal settlements across the world. We are calling for an EU law that will end trade with illegal settlements once and for all. This law will apply to occupied territories anywhere, among them the Occupied Palestine Territory and Israel’s illegal settlements there. The law will also send a powerful signal around the world that the EU will no longer reward territorial aggression with trade and profits.

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Ensuring Common Commercial Policy conformity with EU Treaties and compliance with international law

We seek to regulate commercial transactions with Occupant’s entities based or operating in occupied territories by withholding products originating from there from entering the EU market. The Commission, as Guardian of the Treaties, has to ensure consistency of Union’s policy and compliance with fundamental rights and international law in all areas of EU law, including CCP. It must propose legal acts based on the Common Commercial Policy to prevent EU legal entities from both importing products originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories and exporting to such territories, in order to preserve the integrity of the internal market and to not aid or assist the maintenance of such unlawful situations. The initiative thus invites the Commission to submit a proposal for a legal act under the Common Commercial Policy which is general in nature and does not target a specific country or territory.

See more on the campaign’s website:

Any question about the ECI or the #StopTradeWithSettlements campaign?
See our Q&A.

The ELSC has been involved in the ECI since its very initial stage, assisting the seven EU citizens in the preparation of the Initiative. The ELSC also provided legal research and analysis throughout the proceedings before the European Court of Justice, when the European Commission refused first to register the ECI (see below).

A New European Citizens Initiative Aims to Push the EU to Ban Trade with Illegal Settlements

The ELSC joined a coalition of more than 100 organisations asking European citizens to sign the European Citizens Initiative that will push the EU to ban trade with illegal settlements and therefore align its policy with international law. Read the press release

The European Court of Justice annuls the Commission’s refusal to register a Citizens’ Initiative calling for the regulation of EU trade with occupied territories

In the judgment Moerenhout and others v Commission, delivered on May 12, 2021, the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) calling upon the European Commission to adopt measures to regulate trade with occupied territories. Read more

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