Duterte on EU invite: Thanks, but no thanks
President Rodrigo Duterte spurned an invitation by the European Union to attend the Asia-Europe meeting in Belgium later this year, calling the bloc “imperialist.”
Mr. Duterte, who had thrown expletives at the European Union for criticism of the bloodshed that marked his war on drugs, said the bloc wanted to impose its values on other countries.
“Well, I just don’t like their attitude. That’s all,” the President said.
“So why would I go there to discuss a matter which I hate to talk about in front of them,” Mr. Duterte said upon arriving from India.
He also said a trip to Europe would be expensive.
The European Union, an influential bloc of 28 European countries, wants to “impose their own values, ethos, policy.”
“You have always been imperialists ever since,” he said.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen earlier said the group had sent an invitation for Mr. Duterte to attend the Asia-Europe meeting in October, which could give Mr. Duterte the chance to have a “more positive understanding of the European Union.”
Mr. Duterte said he would not accept any aid from the European Union if it came with conditions.
“I will not allow the government to be beholden to anyone except to the people,” he said of his rejection of P383 million in EU aid.
Jessen on Wednesday confirmed that the aid, EU-Philippine Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA), had been rejected by the Philippines.
Jessen said the Duterte administration was offended by the phrases “rule of law” and “human rights” found on the TRTA document.
The EU envoy said the Duterte administration also wanted to reject at least P2.4 billion in aid meant for sustainable energy projects.—WITH REPORTS FROM FRINSTON LIM AND ALLAN NAWAL
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