Luxembourg Parliament Building

Luxembourg’s foreign minister has suggested that the European Union should recognize Palestinian statehood in response to Israel’s planned West Bank annexation in July.

Speaking to Der Spiegel, Jean Asselborn called the plans a “gross violation of international law”, suggesting that the European Union should consider tougher action instead of simply writing “reproachful letters.”

The foreign ministernoted that it is “too early” to talk about the introduction of retaliatory sanctions on Israel, as the bloc is still trying to sway Israel’s mind. The European Union requires unanimous consent before imposing sanctions, and Germany has indicated it was not enthusiastic about such a move, raising the possibility of a veto.

Instead, Asselborn said, Brussels could recognize a Palestinian state – a process that does not require unanimity. Nine EU members – Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden – have already done so, and more names on that list “would likely achieve much more than economic sanctions,” he noted.