European Parliament to debate Lankan issues


Political and civil society groups, among them Tamil diaspora organisations, have pressured the European Parliament to debate the restoration of the GSP Plus tariff preferences to Sri Lanka.

It will take place during the plenary sessions of the EU Parliament in Brussels on May 31. It will follow what is being billed as a “Commission Statement” where the European Commissioner for Trade will make a statement on Sri Lanka. He will take questions from members on issues raised by them.
Among the issues which the EU is seeking early attention from Sri Lanka are the proposed Counter Terrorism Act, matters relating to the US-backed UN Human Rights Council resolution, which was endorsed by Sri Lanka, decriminalising gay activity, matters relating to Muslim marriages, trade union rights and many issues connected to women.

The debate comes as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed that a Commerce Department official be removed from liaising the European Union-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Matters. He has said that the matter should be handled by an official of the Ministry of International Trade and Development Strategies.