Colombia: Santos thanks the EU for its support to the peace process

President Santos 2018

President Santos address MEPs in a formal sitting in the EP plenary in Strasbourg © European Union 2018 – EP

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos thanked the European Union, in an address to plenary, for its support for the peace process in Colombia.

 Mr Santos, who will step down as President following the election on 17 June between candidates Iván Duque y Gustavo Petro, noted that, for the first time since 1962, the electoral campaign was focused on topics such as education, health, pensions, citizens security and taxes, and not “on the absurd war we were suffering”.

Despite the continuous threat from the National Liberation Army, the ELN, and the persistence of criminal groups dedicated to drug trafficking, “progress towards peace is definitive, irreversible”, assured the President. Mr Santos thanked the EU for its determined and permanent support to the peace process and the complex post-conflict phase and underlined that Europe is an example in the fight for peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights.

“Only peace and reconciliation, only democracy and respect for human rights can counteract the harmful influence of nationalism, fundamentalism, racism, populism and intolerance”, he stated.

Santos referred to the Fiduciary Fund set up by the EU to support the post-conflict process, with an initial payment of 95 million euros, 62 of which have already been committed, and to an additional 85 million euros for demining.

The Colombian President defended the peace agreement, arguing that “the maximum justice possible, without sacrificing peace, has been achieved”.

Welcoming President Santos, EP President Tajani urged the EU to remain present and help with investment, so that Colombia can keep progressing towards peace and poverty reduction. Mr Tajani warned, however, that efforts to stabilise the country are at risk due to the “worrying situation in Venezuela” and the displacement of people to neighbouring countries. “There is a risk of a real refugee crisis”, he said.

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