Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal is calling for a produce labelling system for all goods emanating from Israeli settlements which are, as he says ‘illegal under international law’. “This is a move that will clearly show consumers that this product has been produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also the European governments have rejected. Then it wil be up to the consumers to decide whether they want to buy the product or not,” Søvndal says.
In practice, the labelling system will be an option for supermarkets who will be able to choose whether to introduce it or not – rather like the system being used in Britain, which Søvndal says has been a major success. “I am sure that the labelling system will have a major and direct effect on imports, he says.
The labelling initiative comes in the wake of a recent EU decision to tighten control of the trade agreement with Israel. Asked whether his initiative is a step towards a boycott of settlement products Søvndal says: “Yes this is a step that will clearly show consumers that these goods have been produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also the European governments have said no to”. Søvndal also stressed that the labeling move is also an act to show Palestinians that the world does not not allow the continuation of settlements’. The Liberals and Danish People’s Party are against the move, calling it political symbolism and against Israeli itself. But Søvndal says: “This is not targeted against Israel, but against illegal settlements”.