Envoy says EU aid not related to human rights

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2017 05:49 PM

Ambassador Franz Jessen. File Photo

European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen on Tuesday said he is meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano next week to clarify matters related to President Duterte's decision to refuse EU aid that comes with strings attached

Jessen said he will take things step by step in his meeting with Cayetano next week.

He said EU's development assistance come only with "standard conditions" and is not related to human rights. 

"Human rights discussion is in a sense unrelated to our development assistance. We have a political dialogue which the Philippines and we raise our issues," Jessen told reporters.

He added that these standard conditions apply to all development assistance in other countries as well. 

"There [are] no specific conditions for the Philippines. What we do here in the Philippines is in line with what we do with other countries around the world.”

When asked about the contention that the assistance is tied to human rights, Jessen said, "We have to get clarification what exactly it is that they are referring to. Those two words were not mentioned in any meeting."

"Also, in any project, you have of course specification [of] what type of assistance we are offering. So, if we support the health sector then the money should go to the health sector, they should not go to another department. So, it's standard," he added. 

The EU said it is not withdrawing any amount and is "in contact with the government about how best to work on the development assistance." 

The EU has not received formal communication yet regarding the refusal.