Angara: EU delegation’s warning is a gross misinterpretation

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(Editor’s Note: Below is the statement of Edgardo J. Angara, special envoy of President Duterte to the European Union, in reaction to the Inquirer banner story, “Int’l groups press probe of drug kills.”)

I, together with Secretary Ramon Lopez, returned recently from a series of meetings on Sept. 25-27 in Brussels with key members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) and executives of the EU Commission.

We had extensive discussions with them on different aspects of our relationships, including trade and development, technical assistance, human rights and governance.

We met first with MEP Werner Langen, chair of Delegation for Relations with Southeast Asia and the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations]; the Committee of the International Trade (Inta); European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström; Christian Leffler, deputy secretary general, European External Action Service; MEP Antonio López-Isturiz White, secretary general of the European Popular Party (EPP); and MEP Soraya Post, chair of the European Parliament subcommittee on human rights (DROI).

The seven-member delegation’s dire warning, as reported by the Inquirer on Tuesday, Oct. 10, that the Philippines could be expelled from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and forfeit its preferential trade with [the European Union], is a gross misinterpretation.

All the MEPs and the executive officials of the EU Commission we had conferred with, welcomed the Philippines’ openness to dialogue and consultations.

They expressed much appreciation for President Duterte’s initiative to set up a monitoring center and the invitation he extended to European Council President Donald Tusk to attend the Leaders’ Summit in Manila in November.

In all the meetings, the EU representatives invariably asked how the [European Union] could help the Philippines cope with the drug crisis and fight [the Islamic State group].

There was no moralizing and lecturing.

The atmosphere was civil and the tone cooperative.

None of the gloomy predictions the seven-member delegation said in Manila was ever suggested at all in Brussels.

And the MEP among the seven-member delegations do not represent the governing majority in the EU Parliament. –