AMID PRESIDENT’S THREAT: Envoy says EU socialists against slays not part of EU mission

The European Union has disavowed any connection to the European delegation that recently called on the Philippine government to stop the thousands of killings blamed on President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuing war on drugs.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen made the statement after Duterte threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the EU following the European socialists statement calling for a stop to the killings and warning of strained trade relations.

“The recent visit of the delegation of the ‘International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance’ to the Philippines on 8-9 October was not a ‘European Union mission,’ as falsely reported by some media outlets,” Jessen said in a statement.

Duterte’s latest tirade against the EU may have stemmed from the recent visit of a seven-member delegation of the Progressive Alliance and Party of European Socialists.

The delegation warned that the  Philippines’ Generalized Scheme of Preferences or GSP Plusstatus among European Union countries might be affected if the killings would continue.

“The statements made by the Progressive Alliance during its visit to the Philippines were made solely on behalf of the Progressive Alliance and do not represent the position of the European Union,” Jessen said.

“The European Union was not part of the organization or planning of that visit – neither the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines nor the European Union institutions in Brussels,” he added.

Jessen said the EU and the Philippines worked constructively and productively together in a close partnership in many contexts and areas, “including, of course, in the UN context. ”

“The cooperation covers a very wide range of subjects, including trade, where this year the Philippines made extraordinary progress on its exports to the EU,” Jessen said.

“The Delegation continues to operate and function normally, and is committed to working constructively and productively with the Philippines for the benefit of the population,” he added.