8 senators head off to France to reinforce PH-EU ties
Amid President Duterte’s rocky relationship with the European Union (EU), eight senators are flying to France to strengthen the country’s relations with the French government and the European bloc.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II said some of the senators are already in Europe. They are expected to gather from June 27 to 30.
“Nine of us are supposed to see each other there. This trip is intended to strengthen Philippines-France relations and through this hopefully, Philippines-EU relations,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters on Friday.
Pimentel said this was also a chance for him “to study up close and personal the French system of government, which is unique.”
Aside from Pimentel, Senators Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, JV Ejercito, and Joel Villanueva are joining in the trip.
READ: PH rejects 280M EU aid
Last month, President Duterte turned down a grant of 250 million euros ($278.7 million) from the EU. Palace said the government will no longer accept grants from the EU “that have the potential of affecting the autonomy of the country.”
Duterte slammed EU several times in his public speeches for expressing concern over the deaths in his brutal drug war.
Duterte maintained that the Philippines can survive without EU’s assistance.
But the Malacañang clarified that the country will remain open to humanitarian and other kinds of aid from the bloc./ac
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