No Concrete Commitments but the EU Promises Aid once Colombia Peace is Signed

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 10 November 2014

Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, has expressed the European Union’s readiness to back Colombia with concrete assistance when the peace agreement is implemented.

Both the European Parliament and Commission expressed their support for the peace process, with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, saying ‘the time for peace has come’. However some MEPs expressed their concern with the human rights situation in Colombia, with Tania Gonzalez MEP, the vice president of the EU parliament’s delegation for relations with the Andean countries, noting that Colombia continues to be the country where the most trade unionists are murdered and where the number of human rights defenders being murdered continues to grow. Alluding to the exclusion of civil society from the talks process, Richard Howitt MEP also stressed that the EU ‘should be using its influence with president Santos to ensure that civil society groups and victims have a role to play in the peace process.’

While the EU’s leaders were warm in their expressions of support for Santos, there were few concrete actions agreed upon. Europe did not agree any ‘Marshall Plan’ type of funding for peace in Colombia, with only Germany confirming a previously agreed $95 million loan in the event a peace deal is signed.

One of the main purposes of Santos’ visit to Europe was to agree the creation of a fund to finance post-conflict projects in Colombia, and while the Colombian foreign ministry has said that the initiative encountered unanimous support in the EU, none of the European leaders mentioned it in their statements. One MEP, Heike Hansel, expressed her concerns that Colombia was seeking post-conflict financial aid while continuing to maintain ‘more than 500,000 active soldiers with their corresponding high budgetary spending.’ At home Santos has promised the military that the government will increase defence spending in the wake of an agreement.

A video of the European parliament session can be seen here.

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