EU: 6-M euro aid gone amid strain in PH relations
The Philippine government has rejected a 6.1-million euro (P382.8-million) trade assistance, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen confirmed on Wednesday, months after President Duterte’s stance to reject all aid money from the powerful bloc.
Three projects amounting to 39 million euros (P2.4 billion) were about to be rejected, Jessen said, following criticisms from the European Union and European parliamentarians of President Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.
Jessen said the Philippines canceled the 6.1-million euro fund allocated under the 300-million euros-worth Trade-Related and Technical Assistance (TRTA-4) Project Phase Four that should have been implemented in 2017.
“It was formalized in the sense that we have, for example, in the TRTA, a document that actually had to be signed by the end of the year. And that has been returned to us unsigned,” Jessen told reporters during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum on Wednesday.
“So for me, it is a bit sad that after 30 years plus of development cooperation, we suddenly get into this situation. And the independence of Philippine foreign policy—we are still struggling a bit to understand how we are interfering in that,” he added.
In October last year, President Duterte said the Philippines would no longer accept grants from the European Union for allegedly disrespecting the country’s sovereignty following a group of European parliamentarians’ move to denounce human rights violations in the country.
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