PH rejects €6.1 million in EU aid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — The Philippines has formally rejected €6.1 million (₱382.45 million) in aid from the European Union (EU).

This was confirmed by EU Ambassador to the Philippines, Franz Jessen, Wednesday.

Jessen said the documents for the aid were supposed to have been signed in December last year, but were instead returned unsigned.

The reason for the rejection was unclear, and CNN Philippines was advised to ask Philippine officials instead.

Jessen added another ₱2.4 billion (€39 million) in sustainable energy projects may also be rejected by the government.

Malacañang has yet to comment on the issue.

Jessen: We are not here for political agenda

In an interview with CNN Philippines earlier this month, Jessen said the EU was "mainly here for the people of the Philippines."

"So the development agenda is not political, but is something that goes to the poor segments of the society," he added.

READ: EU ambassador to PH: We are here for dev't, non-political agenda

EU, however, has continuously sent humanitarian support for those in need, especially to war-torn Marawi City, where Jessen said they gave a ₱33 million grant money.

The EU ambassador also emphasized the organization's strong economic ties with the country, being the 2nd biggest and fastest-growing export market of the Philippines.

"I hope that some of the political misunderstandings will gradually be erased. I'm probably a bit concerned about our development assistance because I think it's a shame if it's being reduced," Jessen said.

Duterte: No to grants with conditions

Jessen said EU was the biggest investor in the Philippines in 2016, and was the 2nd biggest in 2017 behind Japan.

In May last year, Malacañang said the country would reject EU aid that imposed conditions on the country.

Then-Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said, "When (the aid) begins to impose certain conditionalities that will interfere with the way we handle things, then we consider that objectionable."

RELATED: PH only refusing EU aid that affects internal affairs

In November, President Rodrigo Duterte maintained the country would not receive aid from the EU for now. He made it clear he did not want aid with any conditions.

"Keep your money. Do not meddle with the sovereignty of my country. Do not impose conditions. We are not rich, we are poor. But we do not bargain dignity by accepting money (with) conditionalities that are not really acceptable to us," he said.

READ: Duterte rejects EU aid yet again: Forget it, we will survive

"We are not rich, we are poor. But we do not bargain dignity by accepting money (with) conditionalities that are not really acceptable to us," he added.

This is a developing story.

CNN Philippines digital producers Ver Marcelo and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.