EU leaders to ask Israel for restraint after pledging more sanctions on Iran's drone sector

A Palestinian child is treated in a Gaza hospital after being injured by Israeli attacks.

A Palestinian child is treated in a Gaza hospital after being injured by Israeli attacks. – Europa Press/Contact/Ali Hamad

Follow live the latest news on Iran's attack on Israel

Follow live the latest news on Iran's attack on Israel

BRUSSELS, April 16 () –

European Union leaders will use the informal summit this Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels to call for calm in the Middle East in the face of the risk of regional war, insisting that Israel refrain from responding to Iran's drone and missile attack after commit to extending sanctions to Tehran's drone sector to curb supplies to related forces in Lebanon or Yemen.

The European heads of state and government will address the tension generated by Iran's attack with some 300 drones and missiles last Saturday on Israel in response to the bombing of its Consulate in Damascus, an issue that has captured international attention in recent days. Along with denouncing the unprecedented Iranian attack, European leaders will ask for “containment” from the parties to avoid any action that could escalate the crisis and lead to a regional war, thus underlining the need not to pour more gasoline on an already inflamed area. for the war in the Gaza Strip.

The EU foreign ministers meeting emergency by videoconference agreed this Tuesday to increase the sanctions that currently punish the supply of drone parts and components from Tehran to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine so that they can also be used against the shipment of missiles and drones Iranians to related forces in the region, in the case of Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthis in Yemen. Along with these countries, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has also mentioned Iraq and Syria.

The idea is to stop Iran's supply of weapons to related forces that generate tension in the region. “There is an appetite to go in that direction,” says a senior EU official, regarding a measure that seeks to support Israel in the face of the “existential security threat” that Tehran represents with interposed groups in Lebanon or Yemen. “It is a signal but we want the sanctions to be effective and make their lives more difficult,” another European source explained about the scope of these measures.

Although the EU expresses its solidarity with Israel in the face of direct air attacks from Iran, it does not move away from its intention to promote an end to the war in Gaza, where the Israeli offensive has left more than 33,000 dead in half a year. “Let's not forget Gaza. Let's not forget what happens there,” Borrell stressed this Tuesday to insist that there will be no stability in the region, nor lasting peace for Israel with its neighbors if the war in the Strip continues.

In this context, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will take advantage of the summit to continue his round of contacts with European leaders to agree on the recognition of the State of Palestine, with meetings scheduled with the prime ministers of Luxembourg, Luc Frieden, of Malta, Robert Abella, and from Belgium, Alexander De Croo.

Furthermore, on the menu of the informal summit is also the strategic debate on relations with Turkey, in which the leaders of the 27 will take as a basis the High Representative's report that recommends using the modernization of the customs union as a lever to achieve more Ankara's commitments on sensitive issues for the EU such as migration or the resolution of the Cyprus issue.

In economic and competitiveness matters, European leaders will also debate the recommendations of the report prepared by the former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and to which Europa Press has had access, which proposes establishing a “contribution mechanism for state aid that obliges the Member States to allocate a part of its national funds to finance pan-European initiatives and investments.

This is one of the “innovative solutions” that Letta will propose at the summit on Thursday in order to find a “balance” between the need to quickly mobilize specific public aid for the industry and, on the other, avoid the fragmentation of the single market.

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