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EU Council chief Charles Michel supports the recognition of Palestinian statehood

European Council President Charles Michel
European Council President Charles Michel Copyright Harry Nakos/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Harry Nakos/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Eleonora Vasques
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Three European countries — Ireland, Spain and Norway — now formally recognise a state of Palestine.

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European Council President Charles Michel is “in favour of the recognition of Palestine” and calls for a coordinated approach among EU and third countries to bring about concrete progress on the matter, he told Euronews in an exclusive interview.

Michel's comments on Monday to EU Senior Correspondent Maïa De La Baume came on the eve of Spain, Ireland and Norway formally recognising a state of Palestine, seven months after the Gaza war broke out.

Asked whether other countries should recognise the Middle Eastern state, Michel said that the move should be used “as a leverage to make some progress”.

"I am in favour of the two-state solution and of the recognition of a Palestinian state. But this state has to be viable. And it is why I think that the best would be a coordinated approach with EU member states and third countries, to create a leverage,” the European Council president added.

Michel considers the move a good step but said he understands other states “need more time”.

Michel’s own country is among those. Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Hadja Lahbib wrote on X (ex-Twitter) on Monday that “Belgium is working for a recognition with rights and freedoms for Palestinians”.

Israel has reacted angrily to the three European countries' decision to recognise Palestine, with foreign minister Israel Katz describing it as a "reward (to) Hamas" and writing in response that "terrorism pays".

Their recognition comes as the EU's position on the war has shifted in recent weeks with a toughening of the stance against Israel due to the worsening situation on the ground.

On Monday, an Israeli airstrike on a camp of displaced Palestinians in Gaza's city of Rafah killed 45 Palestinians, health officials from the Hamas-led authorities said. EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell strongly condemned the attack.

He announced after a meeting of the bloc's foreign affairs ministers on Monday that an EU-Israel Association Council would be convened to discuss Israel's compliance with international law and the recent ICJ ruling. Ministers also decided to reactivate an EU border mission at Rafah.

Video editor • Ines Trindade Pereira

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