The European Union (EU) will continue working with the Philippines in upholding their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights as an important element of their partnership and cooperation with the country, newly assumed EU Ambassador to Manila Luc Véron said on Wednesday.
Véron outlined this in his remarks shortly after he presented his credentials to President Duterte in Malacañang.
The Philippines is committed to effectively implement human rights and other issues such as labor rights, good governance and environmental concerns, among others, under the GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus), a trade preference that allows the country to export more than 6,000 products to European market duty-free.
In September last year, the EU has threatened to revoke its trade preference with Manila in response to the “seriousness of the human rights violations” committed under the Duterte administration, specifically on the issue of the bloody drug war that resulted in the deaths of nearly 7,000 individuals.
Only last month, the EU and the Philippines convened a “friendly and constructive” sub-committee meeting on trade, investment, and economic cooperation with a focus on the country’s implementation of the GSP+.
On the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) response, Véron said that the EU is willing to have a productive political relationship with the Philippine government, particularly to support the Philippines in its efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and its efforts to restart its economy.
“The EU and its member states will continue their efforts to contribute to the international response to the pandemic, including by guaranteeing affordable and fair access to vaccines for all,” he said.
Véron also reiterated the EU’s commitment to the peace process, saying that the recent signing of several financing agreements worth P4.7 billion will enable Europe to continue their unwavering support to the peace process that has been a cornerstone of Duterte’s presidency.
Ambassador Véron highlighted the growing diplomatic relations between the EU and the Philippines that spans more than six decades.
“Our shared interests and values are a strong basis for a partnership based on respect and mutual benefit and in pursuit of the effective implementation of the EU-PH Partnership and Cooperation Agreement”, he said.
Véron has an extensive background in foreign service as he previously worked as Head of Division for Human Resources in the European External Action Service; Deputy Head of the Central Asia Division and an Adviser to the Security Directorate; Chief of the political section of the EU Delegation to the United States of America, and the EU observer role at the Organization of American States.
A French national, Véron holds a Ph.D. in Macro Economics and Economic Model and an MA in International Relations, Economics, and Public Law.