In fact, the path to this final ratification has not been easy for Israel. With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s annexation plan strongly rejected by several EU member states, the ratification vote could have been postponed to a later date. The European Union could sanction Israel economically if the annexation plan was adopted by the Knesset, and the unr ratified open sky agreement could have been an instrument of this. Some left-wing groups in the European Parliament tried yesterday to postpone the vote until 1 July, the earliest date on which Netanyahu will be able to vote on his annexation plan, but their motion was not accepted. This comprehensive agreement allows all EU and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights between any EU airport and Israel. “The final ratification of this agreement is an important expression of Israel`s relations with the EU, particularly in trade, research and development and tourism. The ratification of this agreement will greatly contribute to the rehabilitation of Israel`s tourism and aviation sector. This is particularly important, as Israel is facing an economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus and is trying to resume flights and tourism,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said. The minister also thanked Israel`s envoy to the EU, Ronny Leshno-Yaar, for his years of hard work on the deal.
The open skies agreement makes it easier for European and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights between any EU airport and Israel. It also provides a framework for a wide range of aviation-related issues, including air traffic management, air passenger rights and competition. It should reduce airfares, protect European and Israeli consumers and increase the number of European destinations for Israeli tourists. . . .