Malacañang has declared it sees no need for the Philippine government to declare an European Union (EU) Parliament member as “persona non grata” after threatening to revoke tariff perks for Filipino goods over alleged failure to address human rights violations in the country.
EU Parliament member Hannah Neumann of Germany, earlier called on the European Commission to revoke the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) for the Philippines that allows it to export eligible products to EU states duty-free, citing how the administration has allegedly violated human rights and democracy.
Based on Neumann’s allegations, the EU Parliament, in a resolution, recommended to the EU Commission the revocation of the Philippines’ GSP+ status over the alleged “seriousness of the human rights violations” in the country.
Reacting to the issue, however, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) called for the retention of the GSP+ privilege granted by the EU to the country.
“The ECCP strongly calls for the retention of the GSP+ grant in the Philippines. Such a decision will compromise the notable progress the European Union and the Philippines have built over the years, and result in massive social and economic repercussions to the Philippines,” and said ECCP president Nabil Francis.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it is enough for the EU Parliament to know that the Philippine government remains “uncowed” and will continue to uphold its independent foreign policy direction.
“The message is clear. We are no longer slaves of European countries. We are no longer slaves of any foreign country for that matter,” Roque stressed in an interview over CNN Philippines.
Roque said no one can dictate how the Philippines should uphold the rule of law in its jurisdiction. “No one can question our resolve to protect our people from the scourge of illegal drugs and terrorism,” he added.
Deputy House Speaker, Laguna Rep. Danilo Fernandez asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. to declare Neumann persona non grata, in a recent session in Congress, to protest allegations made by the EU parliamentarian.
In response, Locsin said declaring European lawmakers persona non grata could hurt some sectors in the country. In a tweet, he said he would talk to EU officials regarding the controversial resolution.
During his TV stint, Roque said saying only the European Commission, EU’s executive arm, is the authorized entity to decide on tariff issues.