Senators to visit France to repair PH-EU ties

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2017 04:43 PM

MANILA- Several senators are going to France later this month for a parliamentary visit, with hopes of repairing strained ties between the Philippines and the European Union. 
 
The visit, according to Senator JV Ejercito, will be an opportunity for the senators to renew ties between the Philippines and the European Union of which France is a member of.

"We also want to repair, ayusin natin yung relationship natin," Ejercito told reporters on Tuesday.

He however clarified that the senators' move to reach out to France does not have the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ties between Manila and the European Union have taken a rough turn after the EU expressed concern over alleged extrajudicial killings in the administration's anti-drug campaign. 

The union even raised the matter before the United Nations Human Rights Council in March. Duterte, in response, repeatedly blasted the EU.

The Philippines earlier decided to cut aid from EU which Malacañang explained comes with conditions that seem to intervene with the country’s internal affairs.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen had said the Philippines' decision to cut aid from the EU would mean the loss of about 250 million euros (P13.8 billion) worth of grants mostly allocated to Muslim communities.

The grants were supposed to support aid programs starting this year until 2020.

Ejercito said during the trip, senators will also discuss economic interests of both countries since the Philippines procures 80 percent of its aircraft from France.
 
Other senators joining Ejercito are Senate President Koko Pimentel, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Loren Legarda.
 
More attendees are expected to join the 4-day visit which will commence on June 27, Ejercito said.