Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellReuters

Several European Union member countries plan to recognize a Palestinian state on May 21, the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said late on Thursday, according to Reuters.

His comments came before Friday’s vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution granting the Palestinian Authority (PA) the powers and rights of a UN member state.

Slovenia, Ireland, Malta and Spain, recently released a joint statement in which they said that they had agreed to take initial steps towards recognizing a Palestinian state.

“We are agreed on the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of hostages and a rapid, massive and sustained increase of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the leaders said in a joint statement following a meeting on the sidelines of the European Council.

“We are agreed that the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region is through implementation of a two-state solution, with Israeli and Palestinian States living side-by-side, in peace and security,” they said.

Asked on local Spanish radio station RNE if May 21 was when the countries would recognize a Palestinian state, Borrell said yes.

"This is a symbolic act of a political nature. More than a state, it recognizes the will for that state to exist," he said, adding that Belgium and other countries would probably follow.

The PA has long urged countries to recognize “Palestine” as a means of bypassing direct talks with Israel.

While several European countries have recognized “Palestine” in recent years, those moves were symbolic ones that have little, if any, actual diplomatic effect.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron recently said his country could officially recognize a Palestinian state after a ceasefire in Gaza without waiting for the outcome of what could be years-long talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)