JERUSALEM, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Union and Israel held on Monday in Brussels their first high-level talks since 2012, according to a statement issued on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
"The EU is Israel's main trading partner," said Lapid, who took part in the EU-Israel Association Council dialogue forum via video conference, adding Israel's new government has set the improvement of the political and economic ties with the EU as one of its main goals since its formation in June last year.
The forum "will allow us to advance economic ties between Israel and the EU, and strengthen our fight to lower the cost of living, in both Israel and Europe," he noted.
Meanwhile, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who heads the European side of the talks, welcomed Lapid's support for a two-state solution with the Palestinians in his address to the UN General Assembly in September, Israel's Ynet news site reported.
The EU wishes to see the beginning of a political process that can lead to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and "a comprehensive regional peace," Borrell said.
The convening of the Association Council, the highest forum steering Israel-EU relations in science, economy, energy, environment and other issues, "will enable Israel to continue developing its relations with the EU for the benefit of the citizens of Israel," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
It is the 12th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, after the last one in July 2012.
The dialogue forum had been frozen for a decade amid Israel's continuous expansion of the settlement in the occupied West Bank despite the EU opposition.