Arrival statement of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. following his participation in the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit

Speeches 15 December 2022

Thank you and at least I can say good evening and not good morning anymore. [laughter] [Please sit down.]

I’d like to greet the Cabinet members that are here; the members of the business delegation; members of the media; ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

Well, I’m pleased to be back in Manila after what was a very productive ASEAN-EU Business Summit and Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium.

Yesterday during the Commemorative Summit, we had fruitful discussions with ASEAN and EU Member States’ Leaders. We exchanged views on what is in store for ASEAN-EU cooperation, particularly on areas of mutual interest and concern such as connectivity, trade, digital transition, food security, climate change, geopolitics, amongst others.

I was honored to deliver one of the opening remarks during the Commemorative Summit, in which I was proud to note the recent milestones in ASEAN-EU relations under the Philippines’ coordinatorship – the adoption of the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action for 2023 to 2027 and the successful conclusion of the first-ever Summit between ASEAN and EU Leaders.

And this is a very significant development that EU has turned very, very distinctly towards the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to the driving force behind the new global economy. And this is not really surprising considering that in terms of geopolitical aggrupation, the EU and the ASEAN are two of the most active, best organized, and cohesive organizations in the world. And to put them together is a very important partnership because it is servicing over billions and billions of people both in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific.

I also welcomed the adoption of the Joint Leaders’ Statement at the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, which is the product of intensive discussions between ASEAN and EU Member States.

At the 10th ASEAN-EU Business Summit, I shared the Philippines’ perspective on deepening ASEAN-EU trade through efforts in sustainable development, which is the theme of the Business Summit spearheaded by the ASEAN-EU Business Council.

The ASEAN-EU Business Council has a pivotal role to play in advancing ASEAN’s regional economic integration and post-pandemic economic recovery efforts, through its various initiatives and valuable recommendations, which have been very useful in terms of prioritizing areas and initiatives
for ASEAN’s regional economic integration.

I also met with several business leaders from different European companies through[out] the week. All of them committed to be a part of our development and our economic growth, particularly in renewable energy, infrastructure, food security [and] climate change initiatives.

With European technology and innovation with Filipino talent and ingenuity and industry, we will be working on addressing some of our key economic challenges.

I am happy to be able to announce that I have met with various leading shipowners all over Europe and we were able to get their commitment to help our country hurdle some of the challenges in our seafarers’ EMSA accreditation through the creation of an advisory council composed of our concerned government agencies, international and local shipowners and other stakeholders.

Beyond that, I was able to meet with the EU Commission President, President Ursula von der Leyen who is actually in charge of the – it is the Commission, it’s not the EU. They are the ones who actually are the ones who provide that accreditation. So I explained to her what we have done, that we have this new advisory council and she made a promise that she would – that the Commission itself would provide technical help to us so that within the three months – we have a three-month deadline – within the three months that we will be able to remedy all of the deficiencies that EMSA has been pointing out and hopefully we finally solve this problem.

I am also looking forward to share more good news in the next few months that reaffirms the optimism with which how international investors view
the Philippines today.

Once again, as part of the Asia-Pacific region, we are seen still as coming back to our role as the driver of the global economy. And the Philippines is very much part of that and we are considered as an investment — by the Europeans, this is what they told me – that we are considered by the Europeans as number two in terms of investor – the attractiveness next to Vietnam. So we are doing all right but of course, there’s room to grow.

Our delegation also organized a business roundtable that served as an important catalyst for the renewed relations of the Philippines and the EU business communities. I was joined by the economic managers and other Cabinet members where I announced our recent game-changing laws that aim to transform our business environment significantly in favor of investors and support for inward foreign direct investments.

I am also pleased to announce that European business confidence in the Philippines is high as evidenced by the expansion plans of European companies that we met in the sectors of fast moving consumer goods, in shipbuilding, renewable energy, and green metals. An estimated investment pledge of around PhP 9.8 B has been received.

I was also able to call on the King of Belgium, who fondly recalled his visit to the Philippines many years ago. I invited His Majesty to visit the Philippines again.

I also held bilateral meetings with my counterparts from the European Council, the European Commission, Estonia, Sweden, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Spain, with whom I identified many possible areas of further development and future partnerships. We will follow these up until they come to fruition.

Finally, my trip would not be complete without meeting of course our fellow Filipinos who are living in Belgium.

However, it was not just limited to Belgium as many came from as far as Italy, Poland, Germany, and Belgium to be with us at the gathering. It was a very fulfilling event as I was able to personally thank them for their support. I was also able to hear their concerns and update them on the priorities of this administration.

As a final note, I am delighted that my first visit to Europe, in Brussels in particular, which has the seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, is a successful one and I can see how the outcomes of my visit would generate opportunities for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Ang naging downside lang ay nakakahiya ‘yung Presidente niyo dahil noong nagsasalita ako papiyak-piyak ako na ano ganoon. [laughter] Pero naintindihan naman daw nila. Sabi ko na lang sorry na lang dahil ‘yung mga winter ninyo hindi bagay sa Pilipino ‘yan kaya kako nagkaganito.

But anyway, besides that, I feel that we have gone a – we have laid much groundwork on which we can – fertile groundwork on which we can plant the seeds of these new partnerships that we have spoken about with our friends and our partners in Europe.

Maraming salamat po. Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas. [applause]

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