The Philippines will no longer accept new grants from the EU, officials said yesterday, forgoing possibly more than 250 million euros (US$278.7 million) in funds for development projects.
The EU delegation in Manila said the Philippine government informed it about its decision on Wednesday, but it has yet to receive a written notice.
Philippine Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, in a text reply to reporters, said the move was “to discourage them from interfering with our internal affairs.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte earlier had challenged the EU to stop its assistance after the bloc warned that the Philippines risks losing tariff-free exports to Europe because of the thousands killed in the war on drugs launched by Duterte and Manila’s moves to revive the death penalty.
“The president has approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance not to accept grants from the EU that may allow it to interfere with internal policies of the Philippines,” Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters yesterday.
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said more than 250 million euros worth of grants could be at stake.
“We are still awaiting more detailed clarification from the government,” Jessen said in an e-mail. “The amount possibly concerned by the new decision is 250 million euro plus. For this year the amount affected could be 100 million euro.”’
Development projects using EU assistance include a 35 million euro grant to support the peace process with Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines.
The EU is the largest foreign investor in the Philippines, the only ASEAN member to enjoy duty-free exports under the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences incentives for developing countries.
The Philippine’s duty-free exports to EU was worth about 1.6 billion euros last year, according to EU delegation data.
In March, the EU summoned a Philippine envoy to explain an expletive-laden tirade by Duterte, who threatened to hang EU officials for opposing his efforts to reimpose the death penalty.
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
RALLYING A DEFENSE: Former envoys wrote an op-ed piece defending Anna Lindstedt, who was removed for attempting to free Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai in China Sweden’s former ambassador to Beijing goes on trial in Stockholm on Friday for allegedly overstepping her mandate by trying to negotiate the release of a Chinese-Swedish dissident held in China. Anna Lindstedt is accused of brokering an unauthorized meeting during her time as ambassador to free publisher Gui Minhai (桂民海). Lindstedt — a veteran envoy who had previously represented Sweden in both Vietnam and Mexico, and acted as Sweden’s chief negotiator at the 2015 climate summit in Paris — has denied the charges. Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book
‘LEAST WE CAN DO’: The gesture was made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality that targeted minorities They are images that surprised and moved Americans: police officers taking a knee alongside protesters in the most widespread civil unrest to rock the US in decades — and in doing so embracing an anti-racism gesture denounced by US President Donald Trump. As Trump pushes for a crackdown on often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, police officers from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, Texas, are making gestures of solidarity with demonstrators incensed at the latest case of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody. “I took off the helmet and laid the batons down. Where do
From boiled catfish soup to spicy fried frog, an eight-year-old in pyjamas and a chef’s hat is delighting Myanmar with her culinary prowess in a nation still being told to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moe Myint May Thu’s mother posted a video online at the end of April showing off her daughter’s skills as the youngster threw together some spicy fried prawns. With her wide, gap-toothed grin, the video has bounced across social media and brought stardom to the child along with an online moniker: “Little Chef.” She now sells dishes to order and is counting the dividends. “I just