By Jamila Najmuddin
The European Commission says the latest developments in Sri Lanka have been taken into consideration when deciding on the GSP+ concession for the country and insisted that there needs to be more improvements on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation.
The government in recent times has insisted that the EU should take into consideration the post war developments on deciding on the GSP+ and not the incidents which took place during the conflict.
However a Spokesperson at the European Commission’s Department of Trade in Brussels speaking to Daily Mirror Online said that all recent developments, even the incidents after the war had been taken into consideration before announcing its decision to withdraw the GSP+ benefits from Sri Lanka.
The Spokesperson added that the EU had launched its own investigations from 2008 and the decision to withdraw the GSP+ benefits from Sri Lanka had been taken in line with the proposal of the European Commission of December 2009.
“This is a fairly recent time and within this period there seems to have been little change in the country’s human rights violations. From 2006 to 2008 our observations were based on reports by the UN and other NGO’s which means we have been observing for quite some time,” the Spokesperson said.
However despite the temporary decision to withdraw the GSP+ facility which comes into effect in six months, the Spokesperson said that it will continue to engage with the Sri Lankan government pushing for the implementation of GSP+ relevant human rights conventions. “We will take all sort of steps to see what can be achieved within the next six months in Sri Lanka,” the Spokesperson said.
The EU in a statement released on Monday evening said that it will closely monitor and regularly re-evaluate developments in Sri Lanka and once sufficient progress has been made, the Commission will propose to EU Member States that the decision to withdraw be reversed and GSP+ benefits restored.