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Deal with EU hits snag in the United Kingdom

BusinessWorld, Manila

Deal with EU hits snag in the United Kingdom

By E. J. Diaz

23 May 2011

The signing of the framework deal with the European Union (EU), a prerequisite for a free trade agreement, has hit a snag given the United Kingdom’s questions as to whether some cooperation activities can be implemented.

"The PCA (Partnership Cooperation Agreement) between the European Union and the Philippines is still under consideration by the British Parliament because of technical matters," Peter Wilson, Asia-Pacific director for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told reporters yesterday.

"When I say ‘technical matters’ I am referring to concerns over how to implement it within the EU," he added.

The British Parliament has raised questions regarding its own government’s proposal to opt out of certain cooperation areas such as information sharing on terrorist groups and combating illicit drugs, money laundering, and terrorism financing.

Ambassador Guy Ledoux, head of the European Union delegation to the Philippines, told BusinessWorld that at this point, "26 member states’ foreign ministers out of 27 have signed the PCA, [but] the UK is currently undertaking a ‘Parliamentary scrutiny’."

"Once the UK signs the PCA, it will allow [EU foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton to sign the PCA with the Philippines [Foreign] Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario," he continued.