Spain is to spearhead a move within the European Union to recognise Palestine as an independent state, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that if the initiative fails the government is ready to recognise Palestine individually.
If the EU “is not able to reach unanimous decision – each to their own,” Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said at a conference of European Union leaders in Austria Tuesday, according to Haaretz.
Newly appointed Borrell added that an alternative option of Spanish recognition of the Palestinian state is “on the table.”
Borrell told reporters that he plans to launch an “intensive” consultation process with his fellow European leaders to set in motion the process to reach a unified position on the issue.
In 2014, Spain, along with Britain and Ireland, passed a symbolic motion to recognise Palestine as a state, however the resolution is unbinding.
Recent reports suggest that left-wing organisations in Spain are encouraging the newly elected socialist government to recognise the state of Palestine, which critics argue will prompt Israel to recognise an independent Catalonia in retaliation.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asked the EU to officially recognise the state of Palestine in Brussels, when he met with foreign ministers from the bloc in January.
Abbas told the EU it should take the step “as a way to respond” to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
Sweden is the only state to officially recognise Palestine while being a member of the EU, which it did in 2014. Following a severe backlash from Israel, other EU countries did not follow suit.