Israel’s Likud Party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was this week welcomed as a regional member of the third largest political bloc in the European Parliament – the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR).
Likud’s membership was approved at the AECR’s conference in Prague. Following the signing ceremony, Likud’s Foreign Affairs Director Eli Hazan said: “The agreement is historic, because it is the first time that an Israeli Centre-Right party has been accepted as a regional partner of a European party”.
He added: “It’s even more significant because the signing happened when Israel is fighting for its international image. There’s no doubt that this is further damage to the boycott Israel movement”.
The AECR is a conservative and eurosceptic European political bloc with member parties from all European Union member states, including the Conservative Party.
Other regional members of the bloc include the US Republican Party, Australia’s Liberal Party, Canada’s Conservative Party, and Turkey’s ruling AKP party, as well as parties from a number of Arab states.
A visit to London in January by paved the way towards the decision. Hazan met with Minister of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP and Mark Field MP during his trip, who helped to make the connection with the AECR. Hazan then formally requested membership of the AECR in March.
The bond will enable Likud to participate in AECR party meetings and actively influence decisions connected to Israel. Hazan invited all 76 AECR parliament members for a formal visit to Israel hosted by Likud.
The AECR’s president is Czech member of the European Parliament Jan Zahradil, and its secretary-general is Conservative Party MEP Daniel Hannan.