The EU Parliament will monitor trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, as requested by S&Ds

Today the European Parliament gave its consent to a free trade agreement signed by the European Union with Colombia and Peru, after years of intense negotiation in which Socialists and Democrats played a leading role.

S&D president Hannes Swoboda welcomed the outcome of the vote and announced that an S&D delegation* will visit Bogotá and Lima from 16-20 December.

Speaking today after the vote, Hannes Swoboda said:

„Colombia and Peru have made progress in terms of protecting human and social rights. The situation is not perfect, but this is not the end of our work: this is just the beginning. We Socialists and Democrats want to play an active part in this progress and this is why we want to strengthen our ties with government, unions and other representatives of civil society.“

S&D spokesperson on international trade Euro MP Bernd Lange, said:

„With the new trade agreement we have gained a strong influence in both countries, which has already brought hope of further improvements for the whole of the society through economic growth and better human, labour and environmental standards.“

„In order to use the trade agreement as a tool to achieve improvements – particularly for trade unionists in Colom­bia – the S&D Group successfully put forward a resolution requesting that the two governments develop transparent and binding roadmaps on human, labour and environmental standards before any trade agreement would enter into force.“

Bernd Lange, author of the resolution passed by the European Parliament in June, added:

„We have achieved a lot: for the first time, two sovereign governments have committed themselves to implementing policies requested by the European Parliament. In the roadmap presented in October 2012, Colombia commits itself to ensuring the participation of civil society in applying the trade agreement, increasing the budget for protecting trade unionists and increasing the number of labour inspections.

„I was also the rapporteur for the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas in the trade agreement. For the first time, we introduced an obligation for the Commission to monitor sustainability issues and regularly report on this to the Parliament.

„For the first time, at the request of S&Ds, the Parliament will also create a monitoring group to ensure the roadmaps are fully implemented, in close co-operation with the Peruvian and Colombian parliaments and civil society.

„I am sure this agreement will bring economic progress to Colombia and Peru, but also to Europe, and it will also bring us closer in our common defence of human and labour rights.“