18 August, 2017

GSP Plus: Trade Committee Coordinators Issue Warning To Prime Minister

In an unprecedented move the coordinators of all political groups in the trade committee, the Member of European Parliament responsible for GSP+ and Special Rapporteurs of the European Parliament responsible for South Asia issued an unprecedented ultimatum to Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The deadline for Wickremesinghe to meet these demands have been revealed in closed door conversations to be the 25th of April.

Else, on the 27th of April a vote will be held at the plenary session in Brussles MEPs are likely to vote against Sri Lanka and kick it out of the GSP+ programme altogether.

We publish below the letter in full:

His Excelleny Ranil WICKREMESINGHE Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Prime Minister’s Office
No: 58, Sir Ernest De Silva Mawatha, Colombo 07.

Sri Lanka.

Your Excellency,

Brussels, April 7th, 2017

We are writing this letter in connection with Sri Lanka’s application to join the EU’s GSP Plus scheme under Regulation 978/2012.

The 2010 unilateral preferences under the GSP Plus scheme had been withdrawn from Sri Lanka due to its failure to effectively implement three human rights conventions, namely ICCPR, CRC and CAT. Following the change in the administration in 2015, we were pleased to note the commitment of the new Government of Sri Lanka to introduce substantial reforms and, inter alia, address the issues that had led to the withdrawal of the preferences. As a result, in July 2016, Sri Lanka reapplied for GSP Plus membership, a move evidencing Sri Lanka’s political will to reengage with the EU to fully implement the obligations flowing under the 27 international conventions of the scheme, including the abovementioned ones.

On 11 January this year, having thoroughly assessed Sri Lanka’s application, the European Commission has considered that Sri Lanka meets the eligibility criteria and has decided to propose the granting of GSP Plus status to your country. In line with EU’s legal requirements, the European Commission’s decision is currently before the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for review.

In parallel, we were also pleased to note that Sri Lanka has launched with the EU a bilateral dialogue on human rights, governance and the rule of law (two meetings of the relevant working group have already taken place). We also welcome that Sri Lanka has re-engaged with the UN system by co-sponsoring the UN Human Rights Council resolutions of September 2015 and March 2017 on the promotion of reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. Equally commendable is the Government’s standing invitation to all UN special procedures mandate holders and facilitation of their visits.

These are important developments that send a positive message about Sri Lanka’s determination to ensure the unimpeded enjoyment of human rights by all Sri Lankan citizens in line with international standards. In that respect, we believe that GSP Plus constitutes a strong incentive for Sri Lanka to promote sustainable development and human rights through economic growth. The EU is ready to stand by Sri Lanka in its path of reforms through, inter alia, such trade incentives.

Sri Lanka’s GSP Plus application has given rise to lively debates in the European Parliament, including at two public hearings in December 2016 and March 2017. As members of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, we have participated in these debates and have continuously underlined the need for applicants and beneficiaries to honour commitments taken when applying for GSP Plus membership. These commitments must be translated into continuous action towards the effective implementation of the GSP Plus conventions so as to reassure that Sri Lanka is seriously addressing shortcomings.

It is with this aim in mind that we wish to express our concerns over the pace of reforms in Sri Lanka. As noted in the recent report by High Commissioner Zeid, while there is recognition of progress and of the Government’s will to pursue reforms, efforts to address a number of important shortcomings have slowed down or have been stalling. We are concerned that, initiatives on introducing new counter-terrorism legislation and amending the Code of Criminal Procedure Act (CCPA) bringing them in line with international standards, launching a fully operational Office of Missing Persons, addressing torture and impunity, as well as decriminalising sexual orientation have unfortunately not yet come to fruition. Further action on sexual and gender-based violence should also be pursued.

While we understand the complexity of the issues involved and the need to enter into wide consultations on the more sensitive aspects, it is critical that Sri Lanka delivers on its commitments within clearly established timelines. More specifically, we expect the Government to table legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act and amend the CCPA, ensuring their full compliance with international standards, prior to the decision on GSP Plus foreseen for mid-May.

The above issues fall within the human rights conventions covered by the GSP Plus scheme and constitute obligations upon applicants and beneficiaries which must be complied with. If Sri Lanka is granted GSP+, we will call upon the European Commission to strictly monitor the implementation of these obligations by Sri Lanka and report to us at the second GSP Plus Report to be issued by December this year. Thus, while we are strongly in favour of encouraging Sri Lanka down the path of reform, we will be at the same time watching closely developments and expect that Sri Lanka fully delivers on the above issues. Finalising actions on these issues would, above all, benefit the citizens of Sri Lanka and would help solidify a framework of respect for fundamental rights leading to sustainable growth and development.

Should Sri Lanka be granted GSP Plus, we hope the scheme will help in creating the right economic opportunities for our bilateral relationship to thrive and that it will lead to economic growth and the further diversification of Sri Lankan exports to the EU. In parallel, we hope that GSP Plus will help Sri Lanka pursue such growth in a sustainable development framework through the effective implementation of commitments under the 27 GSP Plus conventions.

Yours sincerley,

Christofer FJELLNER, Member of the European Parliament

Sajjad KARIM, Member of the European Parliament

Agnes JONGERIUS, Member of the European Parliament

Marielle de SARNEZ, Member of the European Parliament

David MARTIN, Member of the European Parliament

Jean LAMBERT, Member of the European Parliament

Emma MCCLARKIN, Member of the European Parliament

Cc:
Rodney PERERA, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the European Union

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Latest comments

  • 19
    25

    The UN long winded processes are in place and is beginning to take shape. Hopefully March 2018, or else, High Commissioner would refer SL to UNGA, after March 2019, or a referendum to resolve Tamil Eelam.

    Tamils unite.

    • 15
      10

      ha..ha.haa..Nice try.

      • 9
        11

        You will not get GSP Plus back, gone for good, but Tamil Eelam will, but we don’t need it.

        Ho ho hoy. Try again as a Chinese colony.

    • 2
      1

      Hey you dub idiot , WAKE UP , IT IS 2017 APRIL.

      still sleeping,

      NANNDI KADDAL is over there and Sun god is enjoying in Heaven.

      let the SRI LANKA TAMILS TO LIVE IN PEACE.
      NOT IN PIECES.

      THEY HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH.!!!!!!!!!

  • 9
    1

    The European People’s Party group (EPP Group),

    RE:GSP Plus: Sri Lanka Gets Toughest Ultimatum From EPP Group

    “The 2010 unilateral preferences under the GSP Plus scheme had been withdrawn from Sri Lanka due to its failure to effectively implement three human rights conventions, namely ICCPR, CRC and CAT. Following the change in the administration in 2015, we were pleased to note the commitment of the new Government of Sri Lanka to introduce substantial reforms and, inter alia, address the issues that had led to the withdrawal of the preferences. As a result, in July 2016, Sri Lanka reapplied for GSP Plus membership, a move evidencing Sri Lanka’s political will to reengage with the EU to fully implement the obligations flowing under the 27 international conventions of the scheme, including the above mentioned ones.”

    What is your goal? What is the time-line towards reaching that goal.

    Now, Sri Lanka has been without GSP Plus for seven years. Sri Lanka naturally would like to get GSP plus, but you need to have empathy towards Sri Lanka,and make them get there in several phases within reasonable timelines.

    Otherwise, you will not make much progress.

    However, you still need to apply constant by applying constructive pressure, so that Sri Lanka will get there, if they get there.

    Ever since “independence” Ceylon, then Sri Lanka specialized in screwing things up, that culminated in a 30-year civil war and a dead India Prime Minister.

    PS. Any comments in the messes you have made in Libya, Iraq and Syria? You do have good experience. What about UK leaving EU? How would it affect GSP Plus?

    • 2
      2

      The European IQ is more than 79 so it is all good.

  • 8
    0

    Is this ‘ultimatum’ really tough? What is the point of saying ‘More specifically, we expect the Government to table legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act and amend the CCPA, ensuring their full compliance with international standards, prior to the decision on GSP Plus foreseen for mid-May.’

    ‘We expect…’? Dear, dear. Great Expectations?

    Also, what is the point of tabling this counter-terror draft as it stands which is a bad draft? The other amendment relating to right of access of a suspect to a lawyer is also not good as many have said. Does the EU want bad legislation to go through because of its demands?? What a silly situation. EU responsible for Sri Lanka’s bad laws!

  • 6
    8

    Quote from letter: “…………… we understand the complexity of the issues involved and the need to enter into wide consultations on the more sensitive aspects ……….”

    The issues involved are not complex at all! The stumbling block is how to let certain persons off the hook. Some of the “certain persons” are in the GoSL camp, some still have big clouts in the armed and police services.

    If these are not worked out in about two years, there will be further extensions.

  • 33
    4

    This is super news for Ranil ! Now he can fly to a few European countries. He cannot do it immediately because he is now flying in the opposite direction -to Japan.

    How many foreign trips has Ranil W taken since 1977 ?That was the beginning of the party for him.What is the cost of all this to the country – travel ?First class tickets, posh hotels , expenses for wife and entourage ?

    Even when in opposition he travels like this

    The way this chap is traveling overseas it looks like we are a powerful nation with an economy that matters .

    What is the benefit to the poor nation from all this ?

    Please citizens with a conscience think of this.

    • 10
      0

      Harry, the time of thinking has long gone, now just kick him out and never let him get back. He has made a mess of our Country, there is absolutely no hope of recovery short of a miracle. There is now a talk of a devaluation of the SL RUPEE ! and this guy travels around the world, buys luxury vehicles for himself and his cronies and agrees to impose crippling taxes on the people. He must pay for all this corruption in some way !!

  • 24
    8

    The good governance government is bending down as much as it can, but the West is not happy. The West wants an environment where divide and conquer become easy and enforceable. This is the way they rule 92% of the world population.

  • 13
    1

    Dear EU,

    Thank you for the letter. My country desperately needed and have already publicly advertised that we have received GPS+. Further conditions alluded to in this letter puts my government between a rock and a hard place.
    Please understand that my government is a staunch ally of the EU and unconditionally supports EU and Western principles of governance, including establishment of rule of law and up holding of human rights to whom we see as appropriate. You may be aware that I personally have a great interest in decriminalising homosexuality.
    However, at the present moment my government is facing the challenge of eroding popularity due to multiple mishaps of the coalition, which I am not to blame for. We will soon be holding elections for a number of state governments, and whole set of local governments. Any defeat at these elections will be fatal to my political future. Inevitably the outcome will not be favourable to EU-SL relationship.
    Hence I suggest that amendments to CCPA and abolition of PTA be suspended until such time that my party establishes a government on its own. In the mean time I appreciate any move towards granting GPS+ back that I can comfortably use it in election propaganda.
    Hope you will consider my proposal strategically.

    Yours Loyal,

    Hon. PM of SL

  • 9
    2

    Kalu Suththu Coconut

    A coconut is brown on the outside but white on the inside.

    This is an example of the Suththu colonial masters ordering Sri Lanka’s coconut to bend down and touch his toes

    Lanka’s Kalu Suththu coconut will sacrifice our motherland’s national pride to gratify and please the Suththa masters to show what a good boy he is.

  • 3
    3

    This is a letter just written by a group of MP’s of the EU Parliament., which is their right (like our JO). It does not represent any official demands of the majority. The reporting is being dramatical.

    Lets just wait and see if these things reported will happen on 27th April.

  • 9
    1

    srilanka will not going to get GSP, it was a dream of mr Ranil , he is most unwanted person for UNP party, he has no place in western countries,mr Rani enough is enough good bayee

  • 5
    4

    SL will NEVER get GSP+.

    This is the simple truth. Using GSP+ as a carrot, the EU gets Lanka to do various unpleasant things including anti-Muslims laws. At the end of it, EU will DENY GSP+ anyway!!

    Dream on!

    • 5
      1

      “At the end of it, EU will DENY GSP+ anyway!!”

      You guys seems to be having good experience and knowledge. But I wonder why did you guy reapplied for GSP+ when you all are so sure of rejection? Is that another way of giving hopes to Modaya and winning election?

      • 2
        1

        well the only guys who applied for GSP+ is the ones whom you voted for. And SL did pretty well without GSP. This Ranil still lives in 2001-4 era in his mind, he does not know Sri Lanka has progressed a lot since then.

        Between this will help us to throw away RW and have a patriotic government in place…and of course with Gaza treatment to north! :)

        • 2
          1

          Patriotic you said?

          I’m sure you didn’t mean the Rajafucksas because they are not patriotic.

          • 0
            0

            FUKA S.

            WHY not send a copy of this letter to Jarapassa Kabraya.
            And another chance for Mr Bean R to globe trotting!!!!!!!!.

            We sri lankan fools??????????????????

      • 0
        1

        Modayas are still waiting for the government to give them political solution and punish war criminals! Now it has been 70 years. May be another millennia.

  • 6
    0

    Central Bank Bond scam is the untold reason behind this unprecedented decision against RW. The EU has realized that he has no future in SL and therefore, it is time to get rig of the old horse and put a new and young one. (Unfortunately, I don’t see Sajith’s name on the card)!
    They will try to groom probably a much younger one; an educated fool and you will hear in a few weeks, some ‘prestigious’ Western university inviting a young UNPer (possibly a lawyer), (or probably a few of them but one at a time to check their suitability) to participate in their political seminars/study tours, or whatever.
    Interesting; isn’t it?

  • 5
    1

    This is also like lying Ranils VW factory in Nikawaratiya he promised GSP+ will be in Sri lanka it seems it is not coming and put the blame on somebody

  • 4
    0

    Dear Trade Committee Coordinators,
    Are you planning to replace the horse? Please don’t bring any more ponies.

  • 1
    0

    Sri Lanka will get GSP+ , but the entire country will be in turmoil if these conditions are to be met. That will suit the EU, and probably even Ranil. Sri Lankans are such unlucky people.

  • 1
    0

    One pertinent question for the two leaders of the present Govt. are they really honest and sincere in their governance? An unbiased answer would be a categorical ‘No’. They have betrayed the people who put them in power, the mandate was clear and loud. Our Country’s future rests solely on your governance based on truth justice and honesty. In trying to save a handful of criminals and other fraudsters for political reasons or other considerations one can clearly see a serious betrayal and a travesty of truth and justice. One’s political future will solely lies on the ability and willingness to face the truth without fear or favour. We hope and pray that all politicians consider seriously and honestly about their duties to the people and call it a day for their selfish lives. “May the Triple Gem bless you.

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