Speaker welcomes members of the European Union Parliament

February 13, 2013 10:17 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 13 — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. warmly welcomed a high-power delegation of the European Union Parliament led by Hon. Werner Langen of the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) of Germany during their recent courtesy call at the House of Representatives.

The Manila delegation is a full-fledged diplomatic mission tasked to officially represent the European Union in the country. It plays an essential part in its political, economic and commercial relations with the country and provides information on the policies and institutions of the EU.

The Delegation also plays a crucial role in supervising the implementation of EU cooperation programs in the Philippines, a role that is steadily increasing in line with the deconcentration of cooperation activities from the Headquarters to Delegations foreseen in the reform of the management of the EU’s external assistance.

The relationship between the European Union and the Republic of the Philippines is a longstanding one, which has broadened and deepened remarkably in recent years.

It has focused from the onset at combating poverty and raising standards of living of the poorest groups in the country. This has included support for rural development and for agrarian reform, the health sector including women’s health, local governance and promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

EU is a major trade and investment partner of the Philippines, with a two-way trade amounting to more than 10 billion per year. In 2006, Philippine exports to the EU amounted to 6.5 billion, while EU exports to the Philippines came to 4.0 billion, the balance of trade showed a healthy surplus of some 2.5 billion in favor of the Philippines.

European companies have also been significant investors in the Philippines over the long-term, whether in the banking, industrial or service sectors. It is also an important partner for Philippine development.

The European Commission (EC) development cooperation with the Philippines is based on a Strategy Paper outlining the key priorities for cooperation which focus on helping the Philippines meet its Millennium Development Goals, by supporting a more equitable access to quality basic social services, such as the health services, through budget support and sector-wide approaches.

Also, the EC cooperation helps the Philippines in its political, economic and social reform processes by providing support to boost trade and its investment flows, to restore peace and security, especially in Mindanao and to deepen dialogue on governance with and among all sectors of society.

Also present during the courtesy call were Hon. Robert Goebbels, Vice-Chair, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament; Hon. Ivo Belet, Vice-Chair, EPP Belgium, Industry, Research and Energy; Hon. Roger Helmer, Europe of Freedom and Democratic Group (EFD) UK, Employment and Social Petitions; Hon. Barbara Weiler, S&D Germany, Internal Market and Consumer Protection; Special Committee on Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering; Hon. Slawomir Nitras, EPP Poland, Economic and Monetary Affairs; and Hon. Adam Bielan, European Conservative and Reformists Group (ECR) Poland, Internal Market and Consumer Protection.(PNA)



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