The decision by the European Commission to grant GSP plus to Sri Lanka has not been without opposition. GUE/NGL European parliamentary group has moved a motion against European Commission to grant GSP+ to Sri Lanka. The motion outlined that slow process of recovery by the Sri Lankan government and the failure to address the problems facing the Tamil-speaking people. The motion also asked for a timetable to meet the domestic requirement.
See the statement below from GUE/NGL – see their website: http://www.guengl.eu/
Also watch the Interview with Lola Sánchez MEP – here
1 June 2017
EU must cooperate with Sri Lanka to ensure workers’ rights before giving GSP+ status
GUE/NGL is calling on the European Commission to work with Sri Lanka to ensure the implementation of labour rights in exchange for granting the country Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status.
This status is a component of the EU’s policy for developing countries which offers trade incentives to those that implement core international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.
Dutch MEP Anne-Marie Mineur, told the plenary: “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka looks good on paper, but in reality there is still a long way to go. I went to Sri Lanka in April, where I heard many stories that provided evidence of the real situation there. I heard from workers that work far too long each day, who don’t receive living wages and are intimidated if they try to join a union or go on strike.”
“In Sri Lanka, unions often cannot take part in collective bargaining and they are not granted access to the workers at the workplace. This is flagrantly in contradiction to ILO conventions.
“Sri Lanka’s past actions have made it clear that the advantages of GSP+ status will not necessarily trickle down to the entire population.
“However, the Commission can play a positive role in ensuring that treaties such as the ILO conventions that are signed by Sri Lanka are respected.
“A roadmap has already been produced by the trade unions in Sri Lanka to introduce real labour rights. I would like to receive a commitment from Commissioner Malmström to work with Sri Lanka to take this forward.
“During my visit, the Sri Lankan Minister for Development even recognised that 50 per cent of the advantages of GSP+ status should benefit the workers.”
Mineur called on the Commissioner: “The preparatory work has been done. Now will you rise to the challenge?”