Members of the European Parliament have begun debating a common approach among the European Union's 28 member states to recognition of a Palestinian state.

A growing number of Europeans are calling for such unilateral recognition, frustrated by deadlock in the Middle East peace process and what they view as Israel's intransigence.

Whether to recognize a country or not is a decision for national governments. But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the trade bloc needs to forge "a united and strong message" to influence events.

On Oct. 30, Sweden's government became the first Western European nation in the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood. Lawmakers in Britain, Spain and Ireland have approved non-binding motions urging recognition.

French legislators are scheduled to debate a similar measure Friday.