EU Trade negotiations with Colombia and Peru

At its meeting in Brussels on 01 – 02 December 2009, the
Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation
(ETUC) adopted a Resolution on EU Trade negotiations with Colombia
and Peru 

The Executive Committee of the European Trade Union
Confederation expresses its outrage at the continued killings of
trade unionists in Colombia where at least ten trade unionists were
assassinated over the last eight weeks.

It reiterates its opposition to ongoing negotiations between the
European Union and the governments of Colombia and Peru aimed at
concluding bilateral trade agreements.

The talks negate the initial aim we have supported of
negotiating an association agreement between the European Union and
the Andean Community including political dialogue and cooperation
as well as a trade dimension. By abandoning the full association
agreement with the Andean Community, the European Union undermines
the strategy launched at the Rio Summit in 1999 and reiterated at
subsequent summits in support of the development of political
associations that strengthen integration and social cohesion
processes in Latin America. The ETUC is concerned that the
Sustainable Development Chapter being negotiated as part of the
trade agreements will not provide the solid basis required to
ensure that human and trade union rights are respected. Provisions
on labour rights of the EU’s GSP+ agreement that apply currently,
and which may be reflected in the free trade agreement, have had
little moderating effect.

The ETUC once more expresses its concern at failings in
coherence between the EU’s trade and foreign, development and
employment policies and calls on the new Commission, now including
the High Representative, to review and recast its approaches to
ensure that the EU’s wider objectives are met through the
coordinated application of all available policy tools.

The ETUC will continue to work with the unions of Colombia to
try to ensure these objectives and a trade agreement which is
acceptable to them and the ETUC. As a first step, the Commission
should suspend the trade talks pending the outcome of an
investigation into Colombia’s human rights record under GSP+.

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