Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EU Council president to visit

EU Council president to visit

EU Council president to visit

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has announced that he will visit Cambodia on Friday and Saturday – just days after the European Parliament adopted a resolution lambasting Cambodia’s human rights record and threatening to suspend trade preferences on products linked to human rights abuses.

According to Van Rompuy’s schedule, posted to the European Council’s website, the former Belgian prime minister will arrive in Phnom Penh on Friday afternoon and hold an official meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, and will pay a courtesy call to National Assembly President Heng Samrin and lay a wreath at the Independence Monument in honour of the late King Father the next day.

The European Council – which is composed of the heads of state and government of EU members – is a body charged with setting the EU’s general political direction.

EU Ambassador to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain said that Van Rompuy’s meetings will “touch upon the relationship between the EU and Cambodia and will address a broad range of domestic and regional issues of interest to the EU”, but declined to elaborate on whether those issues would include those mentioned in last Friday’s European Parliament resolution.

Eang Vuthy, a representative for the fair development NGO Equitable Cambodia, said it was “very important for the EU to raise the issue with the government, and of course the government can give the feedback”.

“We’re hearing already that the government is saying that EU is biased,” he continued.  “The EU should give a response to this.” Vuthy went on to point out that human rights agreements already existed between the EU and Cambodia – notably in the EU-Cambodia Co-operation Framework Agreement and the “Everything But Arms” trade pact.

This week’s trip, said Vuthy, offers a sterling opportunity for the EU to encourage the royal government to play by its own rules, “because Cambodia is a country that has ratified international law and agreed to respect people’s rights”.  

“You can’t avoid this obligation,” he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart White at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • EBA withdrawal provides ‘opportunity for growth’

    Economic analyst Khoun Bunny said on Tuesday that the loss of the EU’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement could be a golden opportunity for Cambodia to show it deserved to be ranked sixth on the list of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Government

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the