Contrary to what is being reported in the mainstream media, fourteen ambassadors representing the member-countries of the European Union (EU) have expressed their continued support for the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda and bared plans to invest more in the Philippines, particularly in infrastructure, energy and civil security, among other fields of interest.
In a recent meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the ambassadors from the EU countries also emphasized their cooperation with the Philippines in implementing the peace agreement in Mindanao.
Led by Ambassador Franz Jessen, the head of the EU delegation to the Philippines, the 14 ambassadors who met with Dominguez were from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, the Netherlands, Romania, Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden.
They expressed their interest in “working closely” with the Philippines in implementing its 10-point socioeconomic agenda on inclusive growth.
The ambassadors were one in saying that they are looking forward to further strengthening the EU’s bilateral relations with the Philippines, especially in the field of trade and economic cooperation.
Swedish ambassador to Manila Harald Fries, in particular, said businessmen from Sweden are increasingly optimistic over business prospects in the Philippines and have expressed interest in visiting Manila to explore possible investments in infrastructure, energy, business process outsourcing, military, civil security, among others fields.
Ambassador Fries said a “record number of Swedish business leaders” would be coming to Manila in the next few weeks headed by Sweden’s Minister of Enterprise and Innovation.
The other envoys who met with Dominguez were Ambassadors Asif Ahmad of the United Kingdom; Jan Top Christensen, Denmark; Massimo Roscigno, Italy; Nicolaos Kaimenakis, Greece; Theirry Mathou, France; Jaroslav Olša, jr., Czech Republic; Dr. Josef Muellner, Austria; Marion Derckx, Netherlands; Ronald Van Remoortele, Belgium; and Dr. Gordon Kricke, the ambassador-designate of the Federal Republic of Germany to Manila.
Chargé d’Affaires Mihail Bujor Sion of Romania, David Ambrus of Hungary and Carmela Barcia, the deputy chief of mission of the Spanish Embassy in Manila, also attended the meeting with Dominguez.
In response, Dominguez thanked the ambassadors for their support to the Duterte administration’s 10-point reform agenda as well as their continuing assistance to the Philippines and commitment to invest more in the country.
“If there are any business groups coming in I will be very happy to meet with them,” he said.
Dominguez acknowledged that fund assistance to the Philippines to establish drug rehabilitation facilities here forms part of the EU’s broader program to help the country deal with its war against illegal drugs.
“Building facilities is probably only 25 percent of the solution to the drug addiction issues, and we certainly need a lot of training, a lot of help in that area,” Dominguez said.