An EU court ruled Wednesday in favor of Tom Morenhourt and six other citizens seeking to withhold the importation of goods from and regulate commercial transactions with Israeli settlements on occupied land that Palestinians seek for an independent state.
This ruling rescinds a 2019 decision by the European Commission not to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) made by the citizens. An ECI is a proposal for legislation made by EU citizens that’s objective is “to reinforce European citizenship, enhance the democratic functioning of the European Union, encourage the participation of citizens in democratic life, and make the European Union more accessible.” The citizens’ ECI was aimed at preventing European companies from importing goods produced in settlements or exporting products there, stating that such trade is illegal in most countries under international law.
The reason the European Commission gave for refusing to register this ECI proposal was that it would interrupt and reduce “the economic and financial relations with the third country concerned.”
The court, however, found the European Commission’s reasoning lacked information and did not comply with the Commission’s duty to state adequate reasons. “A citizen presenting such a proposed initiative must be given the opportunity to understand the Commission’s reasoning.” To allow otherwise “could seriously compromise the possible submission of a new proposed ECI,” the court stated.
The European Commission has the ability to appeal this decision to the Court of Justice within the next two-and-a-half months.