The EU calls on Israel and Iran to refrain from further attacks on each other. All parties are urged to exercise extreme restraint and not to take any action that could increase tensions in the region, said a statement from the heads of state and government released at the EU summit in Brussels. The EU remains committed to the goal of contributing to de-escalation in the region.

The background to the statement is the concern that the conflict in the Middle East could develop into a major war if Israel responds with a harsh retaliation to the Iranian drone and missile attack at the weekend. The Iranian attack was triggered by a suspected Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus.

At the beginning of the month, two generals from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed. Israel has already announced retaliation for the Iranian attack. According to the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, it will hit Iranian military facilities.

Unrestricted solidarity – and sanctions

In addition to the appeal to all parties to the conflict, the statement by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his colleagues contains a commitment to unrestricted solidarity with the people of Israel and a renewed condemnation of the Iranian attack. It also underlines the will to impose further sanctions against Iran – particularly in connection with drones and missiles. The EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell had already made a corresponding announcement on Tuesday evening after a video link from the foreign ministers.

With regard to the situation in the Gaza Strip, the statement emphasized continued commitment to an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the suffering Palestinian civilian population. The European Union continues to advocate for a lasting and sustainable peace based on the two-state solution.

The two-day summit in Brussels was actually organized to discuss strategies to increase the EU’s international competitiveness. The situation in the Middle East and Ukraine were also put on the agenda due to recent developments.