Despite the EU’s decision to label products from Judea and Samaria, an economic cooperation agreement was signed last week between the Valtellina valley in the Sondrio province in northern Italy and the Shomron Regional Council in Samaria.
Valtellina is home to 180 thousand inhabitants, the Shomron Regional Council boasts 29 Jewish towns and villages, with an estimated 25 thousand residents. According to Israel’s Walla news site, the ceremony was held by Shomron Council Chairman Yossi Dagan and Province of Sondrio President Luca della Briotta. The signing of the cooperation agreement was made possible with the mediation of the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Fiorello Provera MEP, formerly the president of Valtellina.
The signing ceremony, in the city of Sondrio, at the heart of the Valley, was attended by vintners from both regions.
“With great pleasure, We, the undersigned, Regional Directors of Valtellina and Shomron respectively, announce our agreement for bilateral relations between our two regions, which will begin immediately with the signing of this agreement,” reads the pact. “The goal of this declaration of cooperation is to promote culture, science, industry, trade, tourism, agriculture and technology between leaders in each field in our communities.”
After the signing, President della Briotta said “the friendship between the region of Valtellina and Samaria has lasted a long time, and we hope that this friendship will grow stronger, and will gain ground. I am convinced that these days the world needs to cooperate, and sign covenants of peace, so that in the end we will reach a true peace.”
The vintners from both regions said they were looking forward to cooperation in technical knowledge and marketing, despite the EU Commission’s decision, which seeks to limit them, Walla reported. Provera said, “I think the EU’s decision to boycott Israeli products is a mistake and it would hurt both industry and the common people, including thousands of Palestinian families who actually make their living from working for Israelis in these plants.” He said “it’s a decision that will affect the common people, not the rich.”