MANILA -- The establishment of more European diplomatic missions in Manila signaled the increased interest of the European Union (EU) in the Philippines, Ambassador Franz Jessen said as the bloc celebrated the 2019 Europe Day this week.
"Since I arrived in 2015, three new EU diplomatic missions have been established � Hungary, Poland and Sweden. We are now 15, up from 12," Jessen said in a reception in Makati on Thursday night.
"This increase is a tangible reflection of the EU's increased interest in the Philippines and, of course, of the increased weight of the Philippine economy and of its diplomacy," he added.
The EU is the world's second biggest economy and remains the biggest trading power in the world. In 2018, it signed a Partnership Cooperation Agreement with the Philippine government to allow better collaboration in a number of crucial areas, including political, economic, and development issues.
Jessen acknowledged that these past few years, the EU has frequently hogged the headlines in the Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed the bloc, claiming that it is into "international governing by criticizing his crackdown on illegal drugs.
Taking this, however, on a positive note, he said "the greater recognition of the EU is welcome."
"I am satisfied to see the increased awareness of the values for which the EU stands for. We are proud of our values, we don't impose them on any partner, and we don't hide them," he noted.
The envoy said the EU stands ready to work with the country as it undergoes "rapid transformation."
He also looks forward to Manila further "unleashing" its potentials, pinning his confidence on the "young, ambitious, increasingly better educated workforce" that will join the job market in the years to come.
"The EU continues to stand ready to work with the Philippines, with President (Rodrigo) Duterte and his government to channel this great potential into further sustainable economic growth and to together promote a rules-based system, where the voices of all countries are fully respected: a system which in my view serves both our interests best," he said. (PNA)
Source:: Philippines News Agency