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EU Parliament expresses concern with corruption in Phl, threatens to remove trade privileges

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The European Parliament members unanimously voted in favor of the “resolution of 17 February 2022, in line with the prevalence of corruption and human rights violations in the Philppines. With a total of 627 out of 684 members voted for the approval of the resolution, Margaritis Schinas Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Promoting our European Way of Life delivered his speech to get the support of the parliament.

ChecEuropean Parliament k against delivery!

Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Corruption affects nearly all aspects of our society. It undermines the respect of human rights, the rule of law, democracy and growth. It represents the opposite of what we stand for as Europeans. And it has a cost, the cost of corruption is immense: it is estimated from 2% to 5% of global GDP.

Corruption represents a structural obstacle to the full enjoyment and respect of human rights. Let us think, for example, on the right to health. With the COVID-19 pandemic straining all the resources in our healthcare systems, corrupt practices may divert crucial resources from hospitals and healthcare professionals. But corruption also affects disproportionately vulnerable groups and persons.

For us, in the European Union, the fight against corruption is synonymous to the model of society we represent. Your report rightfully refers to the link between the internal and the external coherence, which is indeed crucial for the credibility of our action.

Within the European Union, the European Commission is systematically monitoring anti-corruption measures in all European Union Member States within the framework of the Rule of Law mechanism. The prevention of corruption is also key in the post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience plans of our Member States. Our European Public Prosecutor’s Office can investigate and prosecute all perpetrators of criminal offences affecting the budget of the European Union and they know that.

At the global level, the European Union is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and supports actively its universalisation. It is also one of the conventions that GSP+ beneficiary countries need to ratify and effectively implement.

The fight against corruption and the protection of human rights are cross-cutting and mutually reinforcing elements in our external action. The European Union Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020–2024 includes concrete anti-corruption actions, which we are also implementing on the ground. An example is the EU-Council of Europe Horizontal Facility II, to which we contribute to the order of €35 million to increase compliance of enlargement countries with European standards and the European Union acquis, including in the areas of rule of law and fight against corruption. Additionally, our human rights dialogues are opportunities to discuss issues related to corruption and its negative impact on the universal respect of human rights.

European Union anti-corruption support to third countries follows a holistic and human rights-based approach, with a view to tackle links between corruption, human rights and the improvement of transparency, the fighting against impunity, the strengthening of the anti-corruption agencies and the support to the investigative capacity and justice reform as well as international judicial cooperation. Just to give you an example of this multi-layered approach, only in Nigeria we are actively involved in a project of €25 million to promote the Rule of Law and to fight corruption.

We are now engaged in a safe and enabling environment for civil society that has a crucial role to play as an actor against corruption. We protect whistle-blowers and provide support to national human rights institutions, human rights defenders and journalists at risk. They are all our valuable allies in exposing corruption and corporate abuse.

Honourable Members, this is a fight in which Europe has a lead and this is a fight that Europe is determined to win.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-218178

Closing statement

Thank you, Mr President, Honourable Members.

This was an interesting debate, which testifies the need to keep our attention in the nexus between corruption and human rights and our external action. Let me highlight once again our commitment as the European Union to fight against corruption at global, multilateral, regional and country-level whilst always addressing the very real link with human rights. Our approach is comprehensive whilst acknowledging that there is no one-size fitted approach to deliver on corruption and appropriate solutions must always be context-specific.

We, as a Union, have an impressive toolbox at our disposal, which is strengthening further. You, as a House, have your budgetary control powers. We have the Rule of Law Mechanism, we have OLAF, we have the European Union Prosecutor’s Office, we have the Ombudsman. And we also have the money. For the next seven years, we plan to support work on anti-corruption in all its forms in the vast majority of partner countries across the world. And we are also committing more funds to our Human Rights Defenders programmes and the civil society organisations that can be valuable allies in this global effort.

The European Union is not a paradise to kleptocrats, as Ms [Maria] Arena said. The European Union will be hell to kleptocrats. And I take this opportunity to salute the work of the rapporteur, because her report matters.

Thank you.

Link to the video: EC AV PORTAL (europa.eu)

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