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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meets European Council President Herman Van Rompuy; 16 September 2014

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy's remarks. I am glad to welcome President Aquino on his first visit to Brussels and to the European Union. I had the pleasure of meeting the President two years ago on the occasion of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane. The Philippines' relations with Europe are historically deep and long.

photo by Council of the European Union
The Philippines' relations with Europe are historically deep and long. Today, the Philippines can boast the fastest growing economy in Asia. It is an engine of growth in its region and will progressively raise millions of people from poverty. It was also a forerunner in democratic transition in South East Asia, and in this context, I pay tribute to President Aquino's good governance agenda. The fight against corruption remains a key issue. Democracy, indeed, goes well beyond elections, and the rule of law and respect for human rights are at the heart of it.In our discussions, we have underlined the importance of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement for our future relations. This agreement, once implemented, will increase our engagement politically and economically and enhance practical cooperation in many areas, such as migration or disaster risk management.photo by Council of the European Union
Van Rompuy paid tribute to President Aquino's good governanceagenda. The fight against corruption remains a key issue. Democracy, indeed, goes well beyond elections, and the rule of law and respect for human rights are at the heart of it.photo by Council of the European Union
President Van Rompuy discussed with President Aquino several issues, one of which is he expressed the European Union's support to the peace process in Mindanao. He said he looks forward to strengthening our trade and investment relations and at the same time said the European Union's development cooperation with the Philippines will more than doublein the next six years: it is increasing from 130 million EUR to 325 million EUR with the focus on judicial and legal reform, sustainable energy and job creation. Both leaders exchanged views on the regional situation agreeing that that it is essential that all parties seek peaceful and cooperative solutions to maritime issues, in accordance with international law, in particular with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.photo by Council of the European Union


Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meets European Commission President Jose Barroso; 15 September 2014

Remarks of European Commission President Jose Barroso. Brussels, 15 September 2014 Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, First let me welcome President Aquino on his historical visit to Brussels. This visit marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Philippine Embassy in Belgium, which is also a reason to celebrate the long standing relations between the EU and the Philippines! Today, we have discussed bilateral, regional and global issues.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino's visit to Brussels marks the 50the Anniversary of the establishment of the Philippine Embassy in Belgium. Both Presidents celebrated the long standing relations between the EU and the Philippines. They discussed bilateral,regional and global issues. photo by European Commission Audiovisual Services
President Barroso congratulated President Aquino for his efforts to bring peace, stability and development to the Philippines of which the successful accomplishment of the Mindanao Peace negotiations and signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro is a good example. He particularly lauded President Aquino for the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Philippines Congress on the 10 September. This is a welcomed positive step forward in the overall effort in bringing lasting peace to people in Mindanao. The EU is also supporting peace and development in Mindanao, in complement to the Government's efforts, through various development projects worth 106 million euros. Barroso assured Aquino of the EU's continued support and assistance in this effort.photo by European Commission Audiovisual Services
In President Barroso's statement, he congratulated Aquino on the remarkable peformance of the Philippines. He added that Europe can also be a partner in the process of sustaining the economic reforms. The European Commission President cited the EU-PH Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which was signed in 2012, and has allowed for an enhanced cooperation in several priority areas.
In his statement, Barroso assured "The allocation for bilateral development cooperation in the Philippines will more than double for the new programming cycle which runs from 2014 to 2020." And it is not just our official dialogue and economic exchanges that are increasing. OFurthermore, Europeans do believe it is "more fun in the Philippines!" (according to the country's slogan): with a historic record of almost 400.000 European visitors in 2013, an increase of 8%. With the European recovery and the lifting of the air ban for Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific, this growth is expected to strengthen in the coming years."photo by Council of the European Union


EU High Representative Catherine Ashton visits the Philippines; 28 to 29 July 2014

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice President of the European Commission, visited Manila (Philippines) on 28 to 29 July. Ashton met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Foreign Secretary del Rosario for an exchange of views on EU-Philippines relations. See Remarks by HRVP following her meeting with Albert Del Rosario, Philippines Secretary for Foreign Affairs

In photo, from left is House Speaker F. Belmonte, center, HRVP C. Ashton and at the right is EU Ambassador G. Ledouxphoto © European Union, 2014
During her two-day visit High Representative Catherine Ashton met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (center)photo © European Union, 2014
Foreign Secretary A. del Rosario said that the visit of HRVP Catherine Ashton is taking place at a time when the Philippines and the EU are marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. “Our half century of partnership has been anchored on the shared values of democracy, respect for the rule of law, promotion and the protection of human dignity and human rights, among others. Our shared values have underpinned growth in bilateral trade which amounted to US$12.5B last year, an increase of about 18% from 2012. The EU is the Philippines’ largest source of foreign direct investment with some US$10.2B or about 1/3 of our total investment stock,” said del Rosario.photo © European Union, 2014
In her remarks  during the joint press conference, HRVP Catherine Ashton thanked Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario for welcoming her in Manila and, also for their collaboration during the 20th EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting last week, which she described as extremely successful. Ashton affirmed the European Union is the biggest investor in the Philippines, and is very proud of this. She said, "We have 7.5 billion euros, which represents 30 percent of all foreign investment and which generates more than 400,000 jobs"
Speaking on cooperation in development, HRVP Ashton confirmed the EU have more than doubled its bilateral assistance to the Philippines, up to 325 million euros for the next six years. She said, "We want to focus especially on supporting the Philippines in strengthening the rule of law through judicial and legal reform, inclusive growth through access to sustainable energy and of course job creation.Ashton added,  "One of the reasons I wanted to come to Manila this time was to strengthen our political dialogue and as you've indicated, Secretary Del Rosario, in our discussions today, I very much welcome the Peace Process in Mindanao and I want to congratulate all sides for the comprehensive agreement reached last week. It is truly an important achievement. But we want to go further in this relationship, and turn it into a more strategically rounded partnership beyond "trade and aid".© European Union, 2014
HRVP Ashton stressed that the "European Union encourages all parties to seek peaceful solutions, through dialogue and cooperation, in accordance with international law - in particular with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The European Union is proud to be a part of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and we recall its fundamental principles, namely to settle differences by peaceful means, to renounce the threat or use of force and to effectively cooperate among partners.Minister, as I began, may I thank you so much for your hospitality here today and I thank you so much for the opportunity to be with you here. Thank you."© European Union, 2014


EU reiterates commitment to end torture; 26 June 2014

The European Union reiterated its commitment to promote human rights and to eliminate torture during a forum, “End Torture” with the Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) held in Makati City. This event took place to mark the "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture". "Torture is not only a tragedy for its victims – it is also degrading for those who perpetrate it, and inevitably it harms the welfare of societies which tolerate such outrages", EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said in his speech .

Edeliza P. Hernandez, Medical Action Group (MAG) Executive Director said that “The existence of “wheel of torture” game at a Philippine National Police (PNP) detention facility in Biñan, Laguna where detainees are reportedly tortured by authorities and its discovery by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) early this year only shows the culture of torture impunity in the country.” Emmanuel C. Amistad, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) Executive Director cited the "June 26 Declaration as important step to urge the authorities for a more systematic and diligent implementation of the AntiTorture Law to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, and to ensure zero-tolerance of torture in all detention and custodial facilities nationwide."
Ambassador Guy Ledoux, in his speech acknowledged the positive gains of the Administration has made in stopping the practice of torture in the Philippines. He said, "Let me especially note the significant improvement in the legal environment for torture prevention in the Philippines – and in the first place the enactment of the Anti-Torture Law in 2009 as important milestones. I acknowledge in particular CHR's efforts of taking the necessary steps to address the legal and medical concerns of the victims in coordination with our partner Medical Action Group."  Yet much needs to be done to fully enforce the Anti-Torture Law and to hold those responsible for torture cases accountable. I am very much concerned about recent reports in the media and from civil society on incidences of torture in some parts of the Philippines. These include the "Torture Wheel" discovered in a police precinct in Laguna province.
The European Union reiterated its commitment to promote human rights and to eliminate torture during a forum, “End Torture” with the Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) held in Makati City. This event took place to mark the "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture".


DENR Secretary and EU Ambassador Advocate a Lead-Free Philippines!; 24 June 2014

The government of the Philippines and the European Union have joined handsto protect school children from chemicals known to have serious toxic effects on the brain. During a school visit organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the European Union (EU), Environment Sec. Ramon J.P. Paje and EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux signed a Solidarity Statement and led stakeholders in pushing for “Lead and Mercury Safe Schools for Bright and Healthy Children." See EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux's speech during his visit to the school.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje joined hands to protect school children from chemicals such as lead and mercury which are known to have serious toxic effects on the brain.
Secretary Paje led the signing of a "Solidarity Statement" to signify stakeholders' agreement to promote and uphold "Lead and Mercury Safe Schools.
200 children from Commonwealth Elementary School welcomed Ambassador Ledoux and Secretary Paje
Ambassador Ledoux congratulated the DENR for issuing the Chemical Control Order (CCO), emphasizing that “the country’s ongoing switch to non-lead paint production is key to protecting the health of children and other vulnerable populations from the debilitating effects of lead exposure.” “A school environment that is safe from lead and other harmful chemicals will have a positive impact on children’s health and their potential to grow, develop and succeed in life,” the EU Ambassador said.
“We want to enable our paint industry to shift to lead-free production. There is now a global action for the elimination of lead in paints, and certainly this CCO is our way of showing our oneness with this advocacy,”stated Sec. Paje.
The European Union supports the Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project to eliminate lead in paint and raise public awareness about the adverse human health impacts of lead-based decorative paints, particularly on the health of children below the age of six. The project is a PHP 80 Million grant implemented in seven Asian countries. The EcoWaste Coalition is the leading project partner in the Philippines.


European Commissioner Kristalina Gerogieva returns to the Philippines; 04 to 05 June 2014

On 04 June 2014, Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, returned to Tacloban, Philippines, where, seven months ago, the world's most powerful typhoon ever recorded making landfall had devastated a large region of the Philippines. During her stay, she saw for herself the progress made in Tacloban's recovery, meeting local mayors and visiting an EU project for children. She was joined by representatives of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).
Kristalina Georgieva gave the opening speech of the ASEM Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. On this occasion, she met with Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines.The EU, its Member States and private European donations totalled €740 million. The EU also assisted the population affected by the earthquake in Bohol (€2.5million), by typhoon Pablo (€6.2 Million) and those displaced in Zamboanga (€0.3 million).

Kristalina Georgieva arrives Tacloban with ECHO team.
Georgieva  visits an EU-funded Centre in Barangay Sirab, Dagami, Leyte that provides child-friendly spaces to assist affected children in recovering from trauma following Yolanda. This project is being implemented by the European NGO PLAN.
Georgieva joins in an activity with kids at the Child Friendly Place also acknowledging the recovery of the children. “The children there were very traumatized. They wouldn’t sing. They would be shy and they wouldn’t want to talk. And what I saw now these children are singing with me a Bulgarian song and they immediately got into it. That’s the difference of this kind of space for psychological recovery,” Georgieva said.
While praising the Philippine government for its rebuilding efforts in the areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid, and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva also urged more spending on preparedness and prevention. “Today, we invest only four percent of the total spending related to disasters on preparedness and prevention. We spend 96% to respond. Yes, it is important to rebuild, to help people step on their feet. But it is even more important to prevent them from falling down to begin with. Turning this pyramid of investments around would go a long way to have resilient societies and we know getting there is so clear that it makes financial economic sense,” she said in her speech at the same ASEM meeting held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
On June 5th together with her Filipino hosts, Commissioner Georgieva  opens and delivers an address at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.Kristalina Georgieva, at the rostrum, in the presence of Albert F. del Rosario, Philippine Minister for Foreign Affairs, Benigno Aquino III and Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine Secretary of the National Defence (seated, from left to right)


Europe Day 2014. Two-Way Tourism, A win-win for EU-Philippine Relations; 09 May 2014

Europe Day, 9 May 2014 in Manila. Tourism was the theme of the evening as this is a growth area of mutual importance to both regions. In 2013, the Philippines managed to attract a record 4.5 million tourists, up 10% from the previous year. The number of EU tourists visiting the Philippines increased by 8%, reaching over 376,000. Tourists from the EU accounted for 8% of the total number of visitors to the Philippines in 2013. This makes the EU the 5th largest source of tourists to the Philippines, behind South Korea (26%), the US (15%), Japan (10%) and China (10%).  2013 was also a record year for tourists visiting the EU with 563,000,000 international visitors in 2013, 29 million more than in previous years. 

The EU and the Philippines have recognised the value of this growing industry and are working together to maximise the potential. In 2012 the EU and the Philippines signed an agreement that included cooperation on tourism.  The partnership includes exchange of information and tourism best practices, collaborating on developing sustainable tourism and eco-tourism, technical assistance, improved training in the tourism industry, and the development of new technologies.
Tourism was the evening’s theme, something currently relished because of the mutual benefits to the EU and the Philippines, as the country managed to attract some 4.5 million travelers to experience “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
The Philippines is an attractive destination for EU tourist, with its vast array of white-sand beaches, glorious landscapes and awe-inspiring biodiversity. According to a recent Euro-barometer survey, almost half of EU citizens (46%) prefer to spend their holidays by the sea in a sunny location, while three in ten people (30%) said that nature (landscapes, mountains, etc.) was one of the main reasons they went on holiday in 2013. The Philippines offers these elementsin abundance.
The guest list at this year’s Europe Day celebration hosted by the EU Delegation to the Philippines at the Shangri-La Makati read like a veritable Who’s Who, with the country’s leading political, business, and diplomatic figures in attendance. All were ready to toast to the deepening relationship of the  European Union and the Philippines. EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux led the roster that includes Acting Foreign Secretary Linglingay Lacanlale, Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, Greek Ambassador Constantina Koliou, French Ambassador Giles Garachon, amongst others.


The Commemoration event, "The Road to Recovery: Rebuilding with Communities after Typhoon Haiyan"; 9 May 2014

Six months after typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda tore through the central Philippines, humanitarian organizations are calling for increased participation and cooperation to ensure continuation along the road to recovery.  On May 9th, Europe Day, European Union (EU)partner agencies celebrate the progress made by communities whilst highlighting that there is much more work to do. An exhibition, ‘The Road to Recovery: Rebuilding with Communities after typhoon Haiyan’, will showcase photographs taken throughout the course of the humanitarian response which demonstrate the remarkable resilience of communities and individuals.  An accompanying panel discussion and Q&A, featuring representatives from the affected communities, humanitarian agencies, the Philippine government and the EU Ambassador, will focus on the next steps in terms of aiding long term recovery. Photo credit: ECHO Partaners 2014/A. Guevara  

Formal opening of the Photo Exhibit.  The whole day event commenced by the opening of a photo exhibit, the ribbon cutting was led by the EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, and ECHO Head of Office, Mr. David Sevcik together with the Country Directors and representatives: ACF International, Mr. Javad Amoozegar, Plan International Carin van der Hor, Save the Children represented by Mr. John Reinstein, and CARE partner represented by Ms. Mayet Lupig. The event commemorated Haiyan’s 6- month, also coincided with the celebration of Europe Day dubbed as “The Road to Recovery: Rebuilding with Communities after Typhoon Haiyan”.  Photo credit: ECHO Partners 2014/A. Guevara
The Photo Exhibit corner.  The photos were mounted at Asian Institute of Management in Makati City launched by ECHO Partners: ACF International, CARE Netherland, Food and Agriculture Organization of UN, International Organization for Migration, and Save the Children. The ECHO partners have showcasead photos of hope and resilience.  Photo credit: ECHO Partners 2014/A. Guevara  
One of the Highlights of the event is the launching of the Book entitled “Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery” published by ECHO partner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The book captured the story lines of Haiyan survivors about resilience, triumph of human spirit, inspiration, and strength amidst loss and adversities. Photo credit: ECHO Partaners 2014/A. Guevara  


EU announces lifting of air ban on Cebu Pacific Air; 10 April 2014

The European Commission has updated for the 23rd time the European list ofairlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". On the basis of safety information from various sources and hearings before the EU Air Safety Committee, the Commission decided to remove Cebu Pacific Air from the EU Safety List allowing it to operate to the European Union.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "When countries do what it takes to ensure the safety of their aviation industry, they get recognition for their efforts."


EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux Visits European Pavillon at WorldBEX Expo; 14 March 2014

On March 14, 2014, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Italy Ambassador Massimo Roscigno visited the European Pavillon at the 2014 WorldBEX Building and Construction Exposition. With 150,000 visitors, the WorldBEX Expo is the largest annual trade fair for the construction industry in the Philippines. About twenty European companies were hosted under the European Pavillon this year, including a strong delegation of Italian companies. Ambassador Ledoux acknowledged the reputation of European suppliers in the construction industry in his address to guests. Ambassador Roscigno in turn congratulated European SMEs in attendance and encouraged them to make the best of the Philippines’ robust growth while offering quality products and creating jobs in the country.
The Pavillon was co-funded by the EU-Philippines Business Network, an EU-funded platform launched in December 2013 and offering support to European companies seeking to invest in the Philippines.



1st Global Terrorism and CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Conference in the Philippines; 04 to 07 March 2014

From March 4 to 7, 2014, the 1st Global Terrorism and CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Conference in the Philippines was held. The European Union supports actions to counter terrorism and to mitigate CBRN risks in the Philippines and South-East Asia and presented its projects under the Instrument of Stability to more than 150 participants of the Philippines and abroad. The Armed Forces of the Philippines set up its CBRNE unit four months ago and impressed with a Capability Demonstration in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on March 6. In a first exercise, an active bomb was safely removed from a car and brought to detonation in a secure location afterwards. Afterwards, the CBRNE unit responded to an explosion that released chemicals by rescuing the affected persons and decontaminating the site.



Bangsamoro Transition Commission Launches Basic Law Primer; 24 February 2014

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the body appointed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III thru Executive Order 120, launched on 24 February 2014 at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel a Primer answering questions about its existence and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which it has been tasked to draft.  Made up of 15 Commissioners and chaired by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, the BTC was joined during the launch by Government peace panel Chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Head of European Union delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Guy Ledoux, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue's Asia Regional Director Michael Vatikiotis and Philippine Country Representative Ali Saleem.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux
Government Peace panel Chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer
Chairman Mohagher Iqbal representing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
 Asia Regional Director Michael Vatikiotis of Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue's Philippine Country Representative Ali Saleem
EU supports the peace process in Mindanao


Huge new European investments in the Philippines; 20 February 2014

PHP 45 BILLION (€750M) POURED INTO NEW PLATFORM FOR MALAMPAYA
Welcoming another large scale European investment in the Philippines, European
Union (EU) Ambassador Guy Ledoux together with Ambassadors Josef Muellner
(Austria), Roland Van Remoortele (Belgium), Massimo Roscigno (Italy); Chargés
d'Affaires a.i Michael Hasper (Germany), Hero de Boer (Netherlands), Mihai Sion
(Romania); Deputy Heads of Mission Jan Vytopil (Czech Republic), Nicholaos Verghis
(Greece); and Commercial Counsellor Ms Marie-Jose Connan (France) were today
welcomed at the Keppel Subic Shipyard in Subic, Zambales, the site of the fabrication
activities of the Malampaya Phase 3 (MP3) platform by the Malampaya Joint Venture
Partners and Keppel Subic Shipyard Leads to witness the ongoing construction of the
second offshore gas platform as part of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power
Phase 3 Project.

This flagship European investment is the most successful private-public partnershipin the country to date, and has earned the Philippine government around €4 billion(PHP 240 billion) since 2001. It powers 40-45% of Luzon’s electricity needs, reducesoil imports, provides a stable supply of energy and a cleaner source of power andcreates thousands of job opportunities for highly-skilled workers.This second Malampaya Gas platform under construction in Keppel Subic Shipyard ispart of the Phase 3 of the Malampaya Project that will ensure that the current levelof gas production is maintained. The scale of the project required the use of the1,500T gantry crane, the largest in Southeast Asia that has been built at the KeppelSubic Shipyard specifically for MP3.
The offshore transport and installation of the second gas platform beside the existing one will be executed with the participation of European companies Boskalis andMammoet.
The European Union delegation visits Malampaya Phase 3 fabrication yard in Subic Bay. A total P45 Billion (€750M) has been poured into new platform of Malampaya. Briefing the diplomats is Antoine Bliek, Malampaya Phase 2 and 3 Project Manager. The high-level EU delegation is made up of (L-R) Germany-Michael Hasper, Charge d’ Affaires a.i; EU Delegation- Ambassador Guy Ledoux; The Netherlands- Hero de Boer, Charge d’ Affaires a.i ; Austria Ambassador Josef Meullner; Greece’s- Nikolaos Verghis; EU Delegation- Walter van Hattum, Head of Trade & Eco; Romania- Mihai Sion, Charge d’ Affaires a.i; Italy (not in photo) – Ambassador Massimo Roscigno.
The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project is one of the largest and most significant industrial endeavours in Philippine history, heralding the birth of the natural gas industry in the country. Natural gas from Malampaya fuels three powerstations with a combined capacity of 2,700 megawatts to meet 40-45% of Luzon’s power generation requirements, reduce oil imports, provide a stable supply of energy and a cleaner source of power.
The European Union is already the largest investor in the Philippines by stock (PHP 440Billion to date). These investments have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country while adding value to the economy through technology and capitaltransfer.


Philippines: Many challenges ahead for Typhoon Haiyan survivors

A Picture Story

Philippines: Many challenges ahead for Typhoon Haiyan survivors

08/02/2014 - Three months after Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) devastated large areas of the eastern and central Philippines, communities are still struggling to rebuild their lives. In total, the European Commission and the EU Member States have allocated over EUR 178 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance to the survivors, including EUR 30 million from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO. This supports the vast international effort to provide food, water, medicines and shelter material to the affected populations.



EU Ambassador confirms completion of 4,000 homes in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental to house victims of typhoon Pablo; 09 January 2014

"The road to recovery and reconstruction is easier when all the stakeholders actively participate – the affected families, local government units, international organisations and non-government organisations." said European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux at the ceremonial turnover of the certificates of ownership of homes made from traditional materials to 200 families from barangays Mamunga, Macopa, Naboc and San Isidro from Compostela Valley. They are part of a larger group of 4,000 families that have had their homes repaired or rebuilt thanks to this initiative of the European Union in collaboration with the Red Cross. Photos by the Spanish Red Cross

Photos by Spanish Red Cross


EU Delegation in the Philippines celebrates International Human Rights Day with the screening of "Lilet Never Happened"; 02 December 2013

Sandy Talag was on 11 years old when she played a child prostitute in the movie Lilet never happened.
Jacco Groen, the Director of the movie answers to the question why Lilet is so special, "I never met a victim with such strong character."
The ambition of screening "Lilet never happened" is to raise awareness of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines, a serious human rights challenge with its roots in both developed and developing countries.
Over 400 people filled Cinema 6 of Glorietta 4 during the opening of Lilet never happened.
Dr. Julian Vassallo, Political Counsellor of the EU Delegation to the Philippines stressing the EU's aim of upholding human rights.
Sandy Talag facing the media last 28 November, narrates her acting experience during the filming of Lilet never happened.


Philippine Senator Loren Legarda receives award on closing the gender gap; 27 November 2013

The Philippines is winner of the Award for Closing the Gender Gap in South and Southeast Asia at the Women in Parliaments Global Forum in Brussels, Belgium on November 27, 2013.
The award was given to the Philippines after the country ranked first among nations in South and Southeast Asia in the World Economic Forum’s survey of nations’ ability to close the gender gap.
Senator Loren Legarda, who received the award on behalf of the Philippine government, cited the Constitution as the country’s guidepost in the promotion of women’s rights, where the role of women in nation building and equality of women and men before the law are emphasized.

“Be the Change You Wish To Be” co-panelists (L-R) Ahmed Al Jarwan, President of the Arab Parliament; Panel Chair Mikael Gustafsson, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament; staff of Mr. Gustaffson; Senator Loren Legarda; Wanda Nowicka, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Photo by Office of Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Loren Legarda with co-panelist, Ms. Wanda Nowicka, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, and Ms. Natalie Headley-Neita, Minister of Sports of Jamaica, congratulating Sen. Legarda for her impassioned speech on the critical need for a comprehensive, gender-responsive and pro-active response during times of natural calamities as the Philippines has recently experienced with typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Office of Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Loren Legarda delivering her acceptance speech for the Award on Closing the Gender Gap (winner in South and Southeast Asia). Photo by Office of Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Loren Legarda receiving the Award on Closing the Gender Gap (winner in South and Southeast Asia) from Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation. Photo by Office of Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Loren Legarda with Ms. Nkosazana Diamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and WIP Advisory Board, who extended her congratulations to Sen. Legarda for the Philippines’ winning the Award in Closing the Gender Gap (winner in South and Southeast Asia). Ms. Zuma was the Lead Panelist in the Panel on “Re-shaping Society through Female Leadership”. Photo by Office of Senator Loren Legarda
Philippine Delegation with MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin(L-R) Minister and Consul General Robespierre Bolivar, Philippine Embassy, Brussels; Second Secretary and Consul Christina Rola; MEP Koch-Mehrin; Senator Loren Legarda; Congresswoman Henedina Abad; First Secretary and Consul Lolita Capco; and Attache Ceres Martinez. Photo by Office of Senator Legarda
Senator Loren Legarda with other awardees for Closing the Gender Gap (L-R) Eyglo Haroardottir, Minister of Social Affairs and Housing of Iceland; MEP; Ntlhoi Motsamai, former Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho; Award presenter Kathy Calvin; MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin; Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Mongolia; and Daphne Barak-Erez, Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. Photo by Office of Senator Legarda


EC Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva visits the Philippines; 15 to 16 November 2013

The EU's top official for Humanitarian Assistance, Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva visited the Philippines last 15 and 16 November and personally assessed the human and material devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). During her visit, she announced an additional € 7M in humanitarian aid for the survivors of the typhoon, bringing the total amount of aid from the European Commission to € 20M. EC Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced the initial € 13M during his visit to the country, days after the typhoon struck Eastern Visayas.

EC Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and the EC Humanitarian Team arrives Tacloban City. (Photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
EC Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva met with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who showed her the hard-hit typhoon areas in Eastern Visayas. (Photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas briefs Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva on the situation. It was recorded that the death toll has breached the 2,500 mark. (Photo by EC Audiovisual service?)
EC Commissioner Georgieva with Ambassador Ledoux met with the locals by the camp of the Belgians providing medical assitance to the community. (photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
The Belgian First Aid and Support team is amongst the International institutions that are now in Tacloban providing medical aid to the survivors of typhoon Yolanda. (photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
Mark Mcarthy, United Nations Humanitarian Team Leader, briefs Kristalina Georgieva  in Tacloban. (photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
Alfred Romualdez, Mayor of Tacloban met with Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Ambassador of the European Union delegation, Kristalina Georgieva and Luigi D'Angelo, European Civil Protection Team Leader. (photo by EC Audiovisual Service)
Kristalina Georgieva meets with Geert Gijs, the team leader of the Belgian First Aid and Support Team in Tacloban. (photo by EC Audiovisual Service)


EC Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits the Philippines;10 to 12 November 2013

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, visited the Philippines for the first time from 10 to 12 November 2013 to explore ways on how to further advance bilateral development co-operation between the European Union and the Philippines.

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, visited the Philippines for the first time from 10 to 12 November 2013. During his visit, the Commissioner held high-levelmeetings with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Teresita Deles, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balicasan, Energy Secretary, Carlos Jericho Petilla and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Evans Garcia. Photo by EC Audiovisual service
Commissioner Andris Piebalgs discussed with the EU Ambassadors in Manila on how to assist the victims of supert typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda)
Matthias Eick, Regional Information Officer of the European Office (ECHO) explaind the extend of the devastation they have witnessed on the ground in the Visayas and suggest the most effective forms of emergency assistance.
The EU released its first tranch of humanitarian assistance of €3 million (Php 170 million) to the affected areas of typhoon Haiyan(locally named Yolanda). In addition EU Member and the European Union have together already mobilised over PHP 600 million in humanitarian assistance including PHP 170 released yesterday by the EU humanitarian office ECHO.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced new EU funds of eight million euros to contribute to the economic and social recovery of conflictaffected areas in Mindanao (The Philippines). The contribution will be channelled through the Mindanao Trust Fund and will support activities to promote confidence-building, peace and demand-driven governance. Around 300,000 people have already benefitted from 141 projects implemented by the Mindanao Trust Fund which is 70% financed by the European Union (European Commission and Sweden). The EU, as the main donor to the Fund, is a long-term supporter of the Mindanao Peace Process, both at political level and by providing assistance to the region. photo by EC Audiovisual service
Andris Piebalgs witnessed the signing ceremony on the new European Union contribution to the Mindanao Trust Fund. World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi and Ambassador Guy Ledoux from the European Union delegation to the Philippines signified the EU grant. photo by EC Audiovisual service
Andris Piebalgs speaks at the Asian Development Bank of the Philippines. photo by EC Audiovisual Service


The 3rd EcoSwitch Award Ceremony; 16 October 2013

"On October 16, 2013 the Green Philippines Project organised the 3rd EcoSwitch Award Ceremony at the Manila Hotel for 100 companies having achieved high environmental performance in 2013. The project conducts resource efficiency audits among its beneficiaries and monitors the implementation of recommendations on site. Since its inception in 2010, more than 300 companies have been certified and the most successful have reported significant savings on electricity consumption and water and raw material usage. The project is funded by the European Union through a 100 Million PHP grant. 

During the ceremony, H.E Ambassador Guy Ledoux awarded certificates to the most deserving companies both in the SME and large company categories. The ceremony was also attended by H.E Josef Rychtar, Ambassador of the Czech Republic and H.E Josef Muellner, Ambassador of Austria." 
 

H.E Ambassador Guy Ledoux awards EcoSwitch Certificates to participating companies. Miss Philippines Earth 2012 Mary Candice Ramos (1st from left) along with DENR Assistant Director Eva Ocfemia (3rd from left) joined the ceremony.
"Companies across the region compete for markets but also for efficiency. Resource efficiency is becoming a big part of business culture in Asia" said Ambassador Ledoux during his speech.
400 guests attended the 3rd EcoSwitch Award Ceremony in Manila Hotel


European Higher Education Fair 2013 gathers 1,500 students, faculty, 32 European Higher Education Instutitions; 15 October 2013

The European Higher Education Fair 2013 opened yesterday 15 October in full force at The Peninsula Hotel with the Ambassadors of the European Union and Member States and officials from the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education.
A total of 1,500 students, faculty and academicians trooped to the European Higher Education Fair 2013 to explore education opportunities from 32 distinguished universities from the European Union from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and, for the first time from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux was joined by Ambassador Josef Müllner of Austria, Ambassador Gilles Garachon of France, Ambassador Joe Hayes of Ireland, Ambassador Ton Boon von Ochssée of the Netherlands, Ambassador Jorge Domecq of Spain, Ambassador-designate Asif Ahmad of the United Kingdom, Deputy Ambassador Jan Vytopil of the Czech Republic, and First Secretary Mr Alfonso Tagliaferri of the Italian Embassy.  Education Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mr. Mario Deriquito,  Executive Director of CHED Napoleon Imperial  and Atty Lily Freida Milla co-inaugurated the European Higher Education Fair.
"What we are doing here is planting the seeds of lifelong relationships between Filipinos and Europeans. These relationships will flourish in all walks of life from politics to medicine, from fine arts to film and on to research, commerce and industry. The bright-eyed student setting off to Europe today will be the strong building blocks of EU-Philippine relations tomorrow", he added.
A total of 1,500 students, faculty and academicians trooped to the European Higher Education Fair 2013 to explore education opportunities from 32 distinguished universities from the European Union from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and, for the first time from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland.
"These people-to-people links certainly go a long way in creating a bridge between the Philippines and the European Union and promoting a better awareness, understanding and appreciation between and among the peoples" Ambassador Ledoux said. 
...through the Erasmus Mundus Program -- awards more or less 40 study grants on different disciplines to Filipinos
Other than the booths of the participating institutions, there will be short information sessions about studying in the represented member states of the European Union.
32 distinguished universities from the European Union from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and, for the first time from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland participated in EHEF 2013.
"What we are doing here is planting the seeds of lifelong relationships between Filipinos and Europeans. These relationships will flourish in all walks of life from politics to medicine, from fine arts to film and on to research, commerce and industry. The bright-eyed student setting off to Europe today will be the strong building blocks of EU-Philippine relations tomorrow", he added.
EU ambassador Guy Ledoux said the main aim of the European Higher Education Fair is to give Filipino students the opportunity to talk directly with representatives of universities and high education establishments from across Europe about study opportunities in Europe.


The European Union attaches primary importance to disaster preparedness as envoy visits Camarines Sur; 01 to 02 October 2013

Ambassador Guy Ledoux witnessed the population of Canaman in Camarines Sur, as they coducted an evacuation drill. Canaman is one of the most vulnerable and disaster prone Barangay in the provinces of Bicol. The drill is part of a disaster preparedness programme financed by the European Union and implemented by CARE Netherlands.For 2012-2013, the European Union provided Php 90 million grants for disaster preparedness programmes to the consortium of NGOs including Care Nederlands, Action Contre la Faim, Plan International, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Handicap International working with Office of Civil Defence Bicol Region.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux witnesesed the evacuation drill of the people of Canaman in the province of Bicol. photo by Care Netherlands
"Disaster preparedness does unfortunately not attract much attention of the media while it is of such crucial importance to reduce the number of victims of natural disaster that regularly affect the Philippines" said EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux. photo by Care Netherlands
photos by CARE Netherlands
photo by Care Netherlands
Mangrove plantations contribute to mitigate the effects of typhoons by reducing the floods and protecting the coastal area. The approach introduced by Care Netherlands involves the harnessing of all the functions of the ecosystems and does not distinguish between administrative boundaries yet looks into the interconnection of the parts of the ecosystem and integrates them in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Now taller since they were planted in 2007, these mangroves have proven to save lives as they prevent raging waves from coming in the island and cause distruction to the towns. photo by Care Netherland


Diplomats visited Philippine hosted and EU-funded Centre; 25 to 26 September 2013

Embassy representatives in Manila converged to Malacañang on 25 and 26 September 2013 to visit the Regional Secretariat of the Centre of Excellence for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN CoE) Risk Mitigation for South-East Asia sponsored by the European Union (EU). The Delegation comprised diplomats from member states of the EU and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as of Australia, Japan, Switzerland and the USA. A live demonstration of a chemical incident response was held after an informative morning session. The Government of the Philippines is hosting the EU CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat for South-East Asia which does not only serve as a hub of expertise but is also facilitating the implementation of currently 19 projects in the region with a budget of more than 14 million Euros (more than 815 million Philippine Pesos) and addressing specific countries’ needs.

A live demonstration on a chemical incident response was shown after an informative morning session. The CBRN hazardous material suits have to be decontaminated after their use. 
The used suites of the first responders are stored properly and have to undergo a thorough cleaning and check after their next use.
Representatives from the Embassies of the ASEAN Member States Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam as well as of Australia, Japan, Switzerland and the USA visited the Regional Secretariat of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative together with Philippine government officials and representatives of the EU and the UN agency UNICRI. 
The victims of the chemical incident had to strip off their contaminated clothes and get decontaminated on the whole body, including their hair. Privacy kits are provided to cover their naked bodies.  
The device that created the chemical incident was found and the type of chemical identified. It can be properly safeguarded now. 
Participants from the Embassies of Singapore and Malaysia are listening attentively to the presentation of the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative with a global budget of EUR 95 million (more than PHP 5.5 billion) from 2009 to 2013, funded through the European Union's Instrument for Stability. 
Representatives from the Embassies of the EU Member States Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Spain and the UK visited the Regional Secretariat of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative together with Philippine government officials and representatives of the EU and the UN agency UNICRI. 
The Regional Coordinator of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative for South-East Asia, María Rettori; the Head of the EU CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat for South-East Asia, Oscar Valenzuela; the Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines, Lubomir Frebort; and the Regional Cooperation Officer for the Instrument for Stability from the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines, Robert Frank, were among the presenters of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative at the Office of the President of the Philippines in the Malacañang Palace. 
Dr. Irma Makalinao from the University of the Philippines presents successful cases of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative and opens with the words: "The EU CBRN Centres of Excellence have become a trademark worldwide – and that is already the first success story!" 
Awareness raising, but also occurrences like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the avian flu cases in South-East Asia and the use of chemical weapons in Syria have led to an increased interest in the prevention and mitigation of risks related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material and agents (CBRN). The participants followed the presentation of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative attentively as it is a national, regional and global response to the threats which builds on a strong network of experts and 8 Regional Secretariats worldwide.  


European Union Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard visits the Philippines to strengthen bilateral co-operation on climate action; 05 to 06 September 2013

Ms. Connie Hedegaard is the first European Union Commissioner to visit the Philippines in several years when she arrived September 5th to discuss an issue at the top of the EU agenda: Climate Action.

Commissioner Hedegaard presses the case for closer EU-Philippine cooperation on climate action with the highest levels of the Philippine Government notably in her meetings with Foreign Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario and the Vice Chair of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, Secretary Lucille Sering.
Commissioner Hedegaard said: "It is my ambition to make the European Union and the Philippines partners in advancing the global climate change agenda. The Philippines can count on Europe's climate cooperation and ambition. We count on the Philippines to help us bring all other major economies on board of an ambitious future climate regime to be finalized in 2015. There is no time to lose if we want to avoid that devastating climate-driven disasters become the new normal.''
Alongside her meetings with Filipino authorities Commissioner Hedegaard is also scheduled to discuss EU-ADB co-operation on Climate action with the Director- General of the ADB regional and sustainable development Department, Mr. S. Chandler. Commissioner Hedegaard will exchange views with several Philippine climate action advocacy groups.
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard faces the media with Lubomir Frebort, Charge d' Affaires of the EU Delegation


Cine Europa is "Sweet Sixteen"; 04 September 2013

"As Cine Europa turns 16 it is reaching more Filipinos than ever before with screenings right across the country. With its expansion from three to six cities last year, attendance has increased by a quarter from 29,000 in 2011 to 36,500 in 2012. What is now perhaps the largest film festival in the Philippines will this year present an original, entertaining and thought-provoking set of 21 European movies, while reserving a special place for quality Filipino films." said Julian Vassallo, Political Counsellor at the EU Delegation to the Philippines.

Now on its 16th year, As Cine Europa  is reaching more Filipinos than ever before with screenings right across the country. With its expansion from three to six cities last year, attendance has increased by a quarter from 29,000 in 2011 to 36,500 in 2012. photo by Malones Photography
Mr. Dominador Co, Executive Assistant for Tourism of Iloilo City welcomes Cine Europa. This year is the second time Cine Europa has showcased 21 European movies to the people of Iloilo. photos by Malones Photography
Ms. Wilma Isleta represented the Film Development Council of the Philippines during the opening of Cine Europa. photos by Malones Photography
Dr. Julian Vassallo acknowledged the support of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Local Government in making Cine Europa another success. photos by Malones Photography
photos by Malones Photography
21 European movies from 18 European countries showcase multi-awarded pieces in Iloilo sharing European culture to the Filipino people. photos by Malones Photography
Cine Europa - Iloilo runs from 24th to 29th September. Free Admission. First-Come, First-Served.
21 European films from 18 European countries showcased to the Filipino people the diversed European culture.
Ms. Fojas said in her welcome remarks. The festival’s 16th edition at the Shang Cineplex  - its home in Manila – features 21 thoughtfully selected films from the 19 participating countries, including Hungary, which is joining the festival for the first time. Cinema is not just a primary form of visual entertainment; it is, in fact, a wonderful and significant medium of art and learning. Film is a commentary on issues that affect society – a reflection of the times; a representation of circumstances that impact humankind; a peek into a poignant moment, a day, a week, or even a lifetime. Through film we realize that though we come from different nations and are geographically apart, we aren’t so different after all. This realization helps us to focus more on our shared values and experiences, appreciate each other’s beliefs and practices and respect our differences.
When I spoke to you last year I announced that thanks to the dedication of the Embassies and Cultural Institutes of the European Union Cultural Group, and the support of the FDCP, Cine Europa would reach out further across the country to film enthusiasts in three new cities: Davao, Iloilo and Baguio. Today I'm pleased to announce that this expansion led to more sold out Cine Europa screenings across the Philippines and a 25 percent increase in audience to over 36,000 viewers from 2011 till 2012.
Stronger partnership widens reach of Cine Europa to six cities nationwide.


EU-PH expand partnership for justice reform through new PhP 570 million support programme; 11 July 2013

The Government of the Philippines has embarked on a major reform in the field of justice and rule of law. In support of this important undertaking, a new Php 570 million (Eur 10 million) comprehensive support program financed by the European Union will be launched on Thursday at the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Headquarters in Camp Crame.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux stressed that "reforming a justice system is a long-term endeavour requiring a genuine strategy and proper planning between all the concerned stakeholders".
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said "the government welcomes the support of EU through EPJUST II as it would further bolster Government’s efforts in strengthening the capacities of law enforcement, the judiciary and prosecution to manage and quickly resolve major cases such as ELKs and EDs".
The program will cover 100 municipalities and 1,000 barangays in Metro Manila and these provinces: Abra, Camarines Sur, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Capiz, Leyte, Oriental Mindoro, Western Samar, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Zamboanga del Norte.
Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Leila de Lima, and EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux led the ceremony attended by more than 100 participants. Ambassadors Josef Rychtar(Czech Republic), Massimo Roscigno (Italy), Ton Boon von Oschssée (Netherlands), and Jorge Domecq (Spain); Chargé d'Affaires Trevor Lewis (United Kingdom); Representatives Yami Jinadu (Belgium), Pascal Sliwanski (France), Christoph Hunold (Germany); as well as several Consuls (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, and Slovakia) witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement along with senior Government officials from implementing agencies, civil society partners and program experts.
On of the components of the program is 'Enhancing Accessibility' aims to facilitate people’s access to legal information and assistance and to expand the provision of quicker and fairer judicial services.
The second component involves  'Fighting Impunity', which aims to make the criminal justice system more efficient in preventing and punishing major crimes in general and extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances in particular through the improvement of the investigation, prosecution and adjudication processes.
Component III is aimed at 'Enhancing Transparency and Accountability' which is to strengthen internal monitoring and evaluation systems and to improve the oversight mechanisms involving external actors to better assess the performance of the justice system.


EU announced the lifting of the air ban for Philippine Airlines; 10 July 2013

The European Commission updated on 10 July for the 21st time the European list of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". Following improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines, Philippine Airlines is the first airline from this country allowed back into European skies since 2010.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "The EU air safety list was created for the protection of European skies and citizens, but it can also serve as a wake-up call to countries and airlines in need to get their safety house back in order. Today we confirmed our willingness to remove Philippines airlines from the list as they show real commitment and capacity to implement international safety standards in a sustainable manner."
In recognising the improvements in the safety situation in thePhilippines, Philippine Airlines is the first airline from the country allowed to fly once more to the 28 member countries of the European Union since 2010.
The Commission decision was based on the unanimous opinion of the EU Air Safety Committee in which safety experts from each of the 28 Member States participate, as well as from Norway , Iceland , Switzerland, and EASA. "This is a confirmation of the great work performed by our Filipino partners, especially the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Philippines Airlines (PAL), in addressing air safety issues. It is a real pleasure to congratulate CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss and his team personally for the extraordinary work they have done," European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux said.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux said the decision will spur tourism and trade in the country. The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing more than 574,000 European tourist arrivals by yearend.
The lifting of the EU ban was “another testimony to PAL’s reputation as a safe airline,” Ramon Ang,  president and chief operating officer Philippine Airlines, said. “Credit goes to the Philippine government for all its effort and hard work in successfully addressing this significant concern hounding our aviation industry for years,” he said. “This welcome development also signals the westward expansion of our international route network as we prepare for the much awaited return of PAL to such popular European destinations as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome and Madrid,” he added. “When we fly back to Europe after an absence of 15 years, we can boast of a newer fleet of aircraft and top quality customer service,” he pointed out. “More than providing Filipinos living and working in Europe with the most direct link to Manila, we hope to bring the best of the Philippines to Europe and the best of Europe to the Philippines.”
For other airlines,  Ambassador Ledoux said, "All the airlines -- if they feel that they have sufficient progress on air safety requirements in collaboration with CAAP -- will be invited to the Air Safety Committee meeting on Nov. 29." Mr. Ledoux noted that the Davao International Airport mishap last month involving a Cebu Pacific flight weighs on that carrier’s rating, which showed some weaknesses that still need to be addressed."


Sonion Philippines launched; 03 July 2013

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Mr. Jørn Mørkeberg, Sonion Group  CEO, Mr. Niels Ole Jeppesen, General Director, Sonion Philippines and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director-General Lilia de Lima inaugurated the new factory of Sonion Philippines, on 3 July 2013 in Batangas, the 289th European company operating in the PEZA.


 

Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines Amb.Guy Ledoux,greeted by PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima together with the SONION PHILIPPINES INC. Mr.Jorn Morkeberg Nielsen,President and CEO(right)and Mr.Niel Jeppesen,General Director,Operations Philippines(2nd right) looks on.Sonion is a supplier of microacoustic and micro-mecahnical technologies and solutions for hearing instrument and in-ear earphones .It is investing more than USD 22 million or EUROS 18.33 million in the Philippines from 2011 to 2013, during the Inauguration Ceremony on Wednesday July 3,2013 in the Tanauan,Batangas(PNA photo by Avito c. Dalan)
Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines Amb.Guy Ledoux (in black suit) and PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima together with the SONION PHILIPPINES INC. Mr. Jorn Morkeberg Nielsen,President and CEO and Mr. Niel Jeppesen,General Director,Operations Philippines. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)
Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines Amb.Guy Ledoux (in black suit) and PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima together with the SONION PHILIPPINES INC. Mr.Jorn Morkeberg Nielsen,President and CEO and Mr.Niel Jeppesen,General Director,Operations Philippines led the Inaugural Breaking of Pots during the inauguration of Sonion PHLs,Inc. on Wednesday, July 3,2013 in Tanauan,Batangas.Sonion is a supplier of micro acoustic and micro-mecahnical technologies and solutions for hearing instrument and in-ear earphones .It is investing more than USD 22 million or EUROS 18.33 million in the Philippines from 2011 to 2013(PNA photo by Avito c. Dalan)
Ambassador Ledoux said "the inauguration of this factory is a good illustration of the strong and growing economic relationship between the EU and the Philippines. European companies are attracted by the skills and talents of Filipino workers." 
Jorn Morkeberg Nielsen, President and CEO of Sonion PHL Inc. (left) and PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima formally unveiled the marker of Sonion during the inauguration rites in Tanauan, Batangas. Sonion is a supplier of microacoustic and micro-mechanical technologies and solutions for hearing instrument and in-ear earphones. It is investing more than USD 22 million or EUROS 18.33 million in the Philippines from 2011 to 2013. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)acd
Sonion Philippines Director General Mr Niels Ole Jeppesen said that total investment foreseen by end of 2014 in the country is pegged at USD 30 million or € 23 million and the plan is to hire about 800 employees by end of 2014. The employees to be hired would include product and process design engineers.Mr. Jeppesen indicated that the Philippines site was preferred to other locations because of the generally high educational level of the workforce, reasonable infrastructure, competitive incentives for foreign investors and the warm welcome and good cooperation with PEZA headquarters and with the local PEZA based in the First Philippine Industrial Park.


The EU is interested to discuss how to make the most of migration; 01 July 2013

The EU sponsored a workshop last 1 July 2013 on the interrelations between public policies, migration and development with the participation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). In the workshop EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux noted the role that migration played in pushing the EU's economy to become one of the world's largest, with the help of the 21 million migrants from developing countries. On this occassion the EU envoy also highlighted the EU-funded 2.8 Million Euro joint project of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

 

Ambassador Guy Ledoux said during the workshop, "The challenges faced by countries seeking to gather the benefit of migration is to identify the best policies and develop partnership with partner countries. It is time to tackle the complex issues surrounding the governance of migration."
Secretary Imelda Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas making her opening remarks. The workshop is part of the OECD Development Centre project entitled Interrelations between Public Policies, Migration and Development of Partner Countries funded by the European Commission which aims to enhance partner countries' capacity to incorporate the migration dimension into the design and implementation of their development strategies and other public policies through a better understanding of the implications of public policies on migration issues. 
Attended by representatives from various government institutions, academe, civil society and international organizations, the workshop served as a platform for policy makers, practitioners, researchers and development actors to continue to discuss the Philippines migration-development nexus, to present and review the current policies and institutional coordination on migration and development, and to identify knowledge gaps and key sectors as priority areas of inquiry under the project. This was the gist of the presentation done on the project by Dr. David Khoudour, Head of the Migration and Skills Unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 


EU, Philippines launched the 3rd Trade-Related Technical Assistance Project; 28 June 2013

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Philippines Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo launched the 3rd Trade-Related Technical Assistance project between the Philippines and the European Union. "The new action further extends and expands our long-standing support to the country's efforts to promote economic growth and poverty reduction through trade." Guy Ledoux said.

 

This new action further extends and expands our long-standing support to the country's efforts to promote economic growth and poverty reduction through trade. There is sufficient evidence indeed that outward-looking countries opening up trade and investment opportunities have better than average records in achieving respectable economic growth rates, greater equity, more inclusiveness, and higher poverty reduction. This has been the own experience of the European Union. More relevantly, it is also the experience of several Asian countries from the original tigers to the newly emerging economies.
This new action further extends and expands our long-standing support to the country's efforts to promoteeconomic growth and poverty reduction through trade.
TRTA 3 aims to promot trade competitiveness by introducing reforms in the regulation and policies to reduce costs and delays in doing trade in the country. The Php 453-million EU-funded project will be administered by the Philippines' Department of Trade and Industry.
The third phase of TRTA brings the total contribution of the EU to Php 1 billion
Expanded exports to the European Union and other major markets are amongst the many benefits the Philippines is expected to enjoy through the Php TRTA 3


A Taste of France - A Culinary Demo of French Culinary Masterpieces; 19 June 2013

Part of the European Culinary Season 2013, French cuisine came to the fore on 19 June when Chef Gabby Prats of The Culinary Institute of France demonstrated to the Filipino public how to prepare oignon gratinée Français soupe,  (French onion soup gratinee, salade niçoise (salad nicoise), canard a l'orange (duck in orange gastrique) and crèpe suzette.

Ambassadors Gilles Garachon (France), Josef Rychtar (Czech Republic), Guy Ledoux (European Union),  and Madam Priscila Reyes Pacheco, President of Aristocrat launched the "Taste of France" which is part of the first European Culinary Season. 
Chef Gabby Prats of The Culinary Institute of Aristocrat demonstrated how to prepare oignon gratinée Français soupe,  (French onion soup gratinee, salade niçoise (salad nicoise), canard a l'orange (duck in orange gastrique) and crèpe suzette.Photo by Aristocrat Restaurant
Chef Gabby Prats presents Salade Nicoise during the cooking demonstration at the "A Taste of France - A Culinary Demo of French Culinary Masterpieces." Photo by Aristocrat Restaurant
oignon gratinée Français soupe,  (French onion soup gratinee, salade niçoise (salad nicoise), canard a l'orange (duck in orange gastrique) and crèpe suzette where amongst the famous Frence Cuisine prepared during the event. Photo by Aristocrat Restaurant


EU-Philippines 8th Senior Officials Meeting; 11 June 2013

The 8th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) between the European Union (EU) and the Philippines took place on 11 June 2013 in Brussels. Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Mr. Viorel Isticioaia Budura and Philippine Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia co-chaired the meeting attended by officials and experts of both sides.

 

EU and the Philippine Senior Officials acknowledged the positive developments in the EU-Philippine relations
Mr. Viorel Isticioaia Budura Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Philippine Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia co-chaired the meeting which was attended by officials and experts of both sides. 3. They welcomed the signing of the EU-Philippine Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) by EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario in Phonon Penh in July 2012 and looked forward to its early ratification by both sides. They agreed that the PCA will serve as a general framework for enhancing bilateral relations.
The signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was hailed by both sides as a crucial milestone in the Mindanao Peace Process that paves the way for a final enduring peace in Mindanao.  The Philippines informed the EU that the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are working to complete the Annexes, as well as to put in place the different mechanisms as identified in the Framework Agreement. The EU welcomed continuation of these positive developments and reiterated its commitment to support the process both politically and through development assistance.
The Philippines and the EU reaffirmed their shared interest in and commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law and agreed to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in this area. The EU and the Philippines also welcomed the lifting of the significant safety concerns by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) recognizing that progress had been achieved by the Philippines in the area of air safety and looked forward to the prospect of Philippine air carriers being able to start direct flights to the EU. The Philippine side also updated the EU on developments in its efforts to strengthen its maritime administration and training system of seafarers so as to comply with the requirements of the STCW Convention.


2nd European Union-Philippines Meeting on Energy: Energy Efficiency to Boost Economic Growth; 29 May 2013

The EU Delegation in partnership with the Philippines Department of Energy organised the 2nd EU-Philippines Meeting on Energy on May 29 with a focus on Energy Efficiency. The event served as a platform for a bilateral exchange of views on Energy Efficiency between policy makers in the Philippines and representatives from the European Union and its Member States. The Meeting was opened by DOE Undersecretary L. Ayson and EU Ambassador G. Ledoux. Congresswoman Abad also presented the work of the Congress Committee on Energy where the passage of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill is a priority.

EU Ambassadors and DOE discuss energy efficiency policies during the 2nd EU-Philippines Meeting on Energy. From left:  Mr. Trevor Lewis, Charge d' Affaires of the British Embassy,  Ambassador Joachim Heidorn of Germany, Undersecretary Loreta Ayson  of the Department of Energy DOE, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Ambassador Jorge Domencq of Spain,  Ambassador Wilhelm Donko of Austria and Ambassador Massimo Roscigno of Italy.
The EU-Philippines Meeting on energy serves as a platform for a bilateral exchange of views on Energy Efficiency between Philippine policy makers and the European Union. The first edition was held in February 2012.
Energy efficiency is a powerful engine of growth and a cost-effective way to cut carbon emissions" EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said during the 2nd EU-Philippines Meeting on Energy. Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson and Congresswoman Henedina Abad were amongst the guest speakers
The European Union is aiming for a 20% cut in Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 2020. Studies show that economic gains for the EU if the target is achieved could amount to about € 200 Billion annually by 2020 – a figure comparable to the GDP of a country like the Philippines. From Left: Ms Monique Voogt, EU SWITCH Programme, Dr Lee Siew Eang, National University of Singapore, Mr Matthieu Penot, EU Delegation to the Philippines.
European and Philippine companies in the energy sector were in attendance, including recent recipients of the prestigious Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Award.


European Culinary Season 2013 features Spanish Guitar Concert at Terry's; 23 May 2013

Part of the European Culinary Season 2013, Terry's restaurant in cooperation with the Spanish Embassy, showcased a Guitar concert with the performance of Benchito Cariño. The European Culinary Season 2013 is an event organised by the EU Cultural Group in the Philippines which features various European Cuisines from 16 May until the end of June.

Terry's showcased a concert dinner with the performance of Mr. Benchito Carino.
Classical Jose Ramirez, a Spanish guitar, surrounds Terry's Salcedo
Mr. Benchito Carino allures his audience with his Classical Jose Ramirez repertoire
Terry's served authentic Spanish cuisine


European Culinary Season 2013 launch; 16 May 2013

The exceptional quality and diversity of Metro Manila's restaurants is an important element of its tourism product that's worth celebrating. To this end the European Union Cultural Group made up of the Embassies and Cultural institutes of the European Union and Switzerland will launch on 16 May the first European Culinary Season that will run for six weeks till 30 June.
Over 20 participating restaurants and establishments will celebrate European cuisine and food culture in Manila in the manner they know best – through chef demonstrations, wine and beer tastings, special European degustation menus, culinary film screenings and a pub quiz. Everything from the Sublime to the Delicious.



EU-Philippines cooperation highlighted in Europe Day reception; 07 May 2013

On the occasion of Europe Day, Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, said relations between the EU and the Philippines has strengthened in the last year as news of the Philippines’ high economic growth and good governance has reached Europe. He noted that in November, at the sidelines of the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos, President Benigno Aquino III met with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, citing as well the flurry of visits of European political leaders in the country over the past six months.

H. E. Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the European Union with Department of Foreign Affairs Executive Director Marichu Mauro.
H.E. Ambassador Guy Ledoux welcomes Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes to the Europe Day Reception.
H.E. Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the European Union cites EU actions to cope with climate change during the Europe Day receptions held in Mandarin Hotel. Drawing attention to the problem of global warming and the need to work together to mitigate, if not reverse, this problem, Ledoux reported that Philippines has received about P800 million in European funds and grants to support its climate change-related activities - from coastal ecosystems restoration and forest protection to the development of low carbon development strategies.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes; H.E. Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps; H.E. Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines offer a toast to celebrate Europe Day and to mark the friendship and dynamic partnership and cooperation between the European Union and the Philippines. 
The Ambassadors from the European Union and EU Member States in a show of force to combat the challenges of climate change join hands during the celebrations of Europe Day held 7 May 2013 in Mandarin Hotel. From left:  H.E. Ambassador Gijsbert Anton Boon von Ochssée, Embassy of the Netherlands; H.E. Ambassador Gilles Garachon, Embassy of France; H.E. Ambassador Stephen Lillie, Embassy of the United Kingdom; H.E. Ambassador Valeriu Gheorghe, Embassy of Romania; H.E. Ambassador Constantina Koliou, Embassy of Greece; H.E. Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps; DFA Undersecretary Jose Brillantes; H.E. Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines; H.E. Ambassador Joachim Heidorn, Embassy of Germany; H.E. Ambassador Josef Rychtar, Embassy of the Czech Republic; H.E. Ambassador Wilhelm Donko, Embassy of Austria; H.E. Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, Embassy of Italy; H.E. Ambassador Christian Meerschman, Embassy of Belgium


European Union to help the Philippines manage its migration flows by financing a project implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM); 15 March 2013

The EU will provide 86 million PHP or 80% of the financing for a regional project aimed at improving regular migration flows from targeted countries including the Philippines. Placing an emphasis on safe and legal migration, this two-year project follows on others implemented between 2006-2010 on facilitating legal migration and promoting regional dialogue.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said:
"The EU's support reaffirms its commitment to cooperate with the Philippines in the area of migration."

The EU will provide 86 million PHP or 80% of the financing for a regional project aimed at improving regular migration flows from targeted countries including the Philippines. Placing an emphasis on safe and legal migration, this two-year project follows on others implemented between 2006-2010 on facilitating legal migration and promoting regional dialogue. Photo by Benjamin Lelis of IOM
"The EU's support reaffirms its commitment to cooperate with the Philippines in the area of migration." - Ambassador Guy Ledoux
Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the EU Delegation to the Philippines said the grant seeks to support the recruitment industry in the country to adopt ethical practices as well as provide services for outbound migrant workers to ensure their safety.
The program’s objective for the Philippines includes government’s support to encourage the recruitment industry to adopt ethical practices and develop migrant resource centers that will provide services both for pre-departure orientation and re-integration of returned migrants.
To support the Government’s programme to encourage the recruitment industry to adopt ethical practices; To support the development of migrant resource centres: these centres provide services both for pre-departure orientation and re-integration of returned migrants; To intensify the campaign against illegal recruitment, trafficking and irregularmigration, especially to Europe.
The project also builds on the Campaign Against Illegal Recruitment, Trafficking and Irregular Migration (CAIRTIM) implemented by the IOM with the DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, with focus on the country’s poorest provinces – Masbate, Antique, Maguindanao, and Agusan del Sur.


The European Union Chemical, Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence Initiative Regional Secretariat for South East Asia opens; 06 March 2013

To boost the European Union (EU) cooperation with the Philippines on regional security issues, the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centre of Excellence (CoE) Regional Secretariat for South East Asia will open in Malacanang on 6 March 2013.The CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat will be launched by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr.; the European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux; and Dr Jonathan Lucas, Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)."Today's launch is a milestone in itself as the establishment of the CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat in Manila will see the development of a common and coherent risk mitigation policy both at national and regional levels", said the European Union Ambassador Ledoux.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., delivers his opening remarks during the Official Opening of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat in the Philippines at the 4th Floor, Social Hall, Mabini Building, Malacañang Compound on Wednesday (March 06, 2013). The Regional Secretariats will play a major role in the regions in ensuring that there is a good level of cooperation and coordination with partner countries through their CBRN CoE National Focal Points and in facilitating the implementation of projects in the region. It is also responsible for supporting countries in the identification of needs, formulation of project proposals of a regional concern, development and improvement of CBRN National Action Plans and execution of the approved projects. (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).
Launched in 2010, the CBRN CoE is an initiative of the EU implemented jointly by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), under the aegis of the EU Institutions. The Initiative aims to mitigate CBRN risks of criminal, accidental or natural origin by promoting a coherent policy, improving coordination and preparedness at national and regional levels and by offering a comprehensive approach covering legal, scientific, enforcement and technical issues. It addresses regional CBRN needs through tailored projects and aims at strengthening policies, institutional capacity building at both regional and national levels as well as a regional culture of safety and security. (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., delivers his opening remarks during the Official Opening of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat in the Philippines at the 4th Floor, Social Hall, Mabini Building, Malacañang Compound on Wednesday (March 06, 2013). The Regional Secretariats will play a major role in the regions in ensuring that there is a good level of cooperation and coordination with partner countries through their CBRN CoE National Focal Points and in facilitating the implementation of projects in the region. It is also responsible for supporting countries in the identification of needs, formulation of project proposals of a regional concern, development and improvement of CBRN National Action Plans and execution of the approved projects. (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., huddles with the participants of the Official Opening of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat in the Philippines for a group photo souvenir at the Mabini Building Grounds, Malacañang Compound on Wednesday (March 06, 2013). The Regional Secretariats will play a major role in the regions in ensuring that there is a good level of cooperation and coordination with partner countries through their CBRN CoE National Focal Points and in facilitating the implementation of projects in the region. It is also responsible for supporting countries in the identification of needs, formulation of project proposals of a regional concern, development and improvement of CBRN National Action Plans and execution of the approved projects.  (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., and European Union (EU) delegation to the Philippines head Ambassador Guy Ledoux observe the Demo on CBRN during the Official Opening of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat in the Philippines at the Mabini Building Grounds, Malacañang Compound on Wednesday (March 06, 2013). The Regional Secretariats will play a major role in the regions in ensuring that there is a good level of cooperation and coordination with partner countries through their CBRN CoE National Focal Points and in facilitating the implementation of projects in the region. It is also responsible for supporting countries in the identification of needs, formulation of project proposals of a regional concern, development and improvement of CBRN National Action Plans and execution of the approved projects.  (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).
The official opening of the Regional Secretariat for South East Asia will include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Philippines and UNICRI, and a Joint Statement by the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Union Delegation to the Philippines. A live demonstration of the CBRN risk mitigation action will be performed by the Special Rescue Unit (SRU) of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of the Philippines. (Photo by: Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau).


EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux visits National Union Journalist of the Philippines; 23 February 2013

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux describes journalists as true defenders of human rights during his talk before the officers and members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines held recently in Los Banos, Laguna.
 
Photo Credit: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux meets Chairman Nestor BurgosPhoto Credit: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Photo Credit: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines


Visit of European Parliament Delegation to explore opportunities for greater European Investment; 11 to 15 February 2013

A Delegation from the European Parliament will be in the Philippines from 11-15  February  to  learn  about  the  positive  developments  taking  place  in  the Philippines  that have created opportunities for new European  investment  in the fast-growing  Philippine  economy.  The Members of  the  European  Parliament (MEPs),  who  together  with  European  governments  legislate  for  500  million Europeans, will also visit Mindanao  to  lend  their political support  to  the peace process.

European parliamentarians led by Mr. Werner Langen meet Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights. Photo by the Commission on Human Rights and Atty. Marc Cebreros of Chair Rosales
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima recieves Mr. Werner Langen, Chair of the European Parliament delegation. Photo by the Department of Justice Communications Division
Mr. Werner Langen dialogues with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. Photo by the Department of Justice Communications Division
Secretary Leila De Lima and Mr. Werner Langen exchange gifts. Photo by the Department of Justice Communications Division
The European Parliamentarian delegation with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. Photo by Department of Justice Communications Division
Mr. Werner Langen, Chair of the Delegation of the European Parliament for Relations with countries of Southeast Asia and ASEAN, meets with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte in the House of Representatives in Quezon City.
Mr. Werner Langen, Chairman of the European Parliament delegation, lauded House Speaker Belmonte and Congress for passing key measures before it adjourned.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Mr. Werner Langen exchange gifts.  

 
House Speaker Belmonte said the delegation was eager to learn about the positive developments taking place in the Philippines that have created opportunities for new European investment in the fast-growing Philippine economy.
Senator Edgardo Angara presents a token to EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux during a  courtesy meeting of European parliamentarians with the Senator.
From left are Ms Claudia Schwendenwein, Assistant, Mr Walter Masur, head of Secretariat, Mr Florian Heines, Interpreter, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Mr Ivo Belet, Vice-Chair, Ms Barbara Weiler, Mr Robert Goebbels, Vice-Chair, Mr Adam Bielan, Mr Stawomir Nitras, Mr Roger Helmer and Mr Lubomir Frebort, Head, Political, Press and Information Section, EU Delegation to the Philippines 
The European Parliament delegation visiting Manila met with Hon. Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The peace advocates flash the peace sign.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario and Mr. Langen exchange token.


The European Union will concentrate on the impact of development assistance in the Philippines; 30 January 2013

In advance of the Philippines Development Forum, the EU Delegation and European member States in Manila present a new publication describing European development assistance to the Philippines. The European Union provides development assistance to the Philippines as a group and some member States go further by also providing bilateral development assistance.

The development assistance provided by the EU is the largest in the world. It combines funds from the EU budget with bilateral assistance from EU Member States. It represents more than half of global official aid. In 2011 the total amount was € 53 billion or  Php 2.87 trillion. In the Philippines, the disbursement of EU aid reached 110 million Euros (or 5.9 billion Pesos) in 2011, 90% of which are in the form of direct grants rather than loans. According to the figures for 2009-2010 published by the Organisation for Economic and Development Cooperation, the EU and its Member States are altogether the second biggest provider of aid to the Philippines following Japan.
EU Member State Ambassadors Josef Rychtar of the Czech Republic, Gilles Garachon of France, Joachim Heidorn of Germany, Ton Boon von Ochssée of the Netherlands and Jorge Domecq of Spain, together with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux officially released the 2012 publication on the EU development assistance to the Philippines. Also present are the Deputy Heads of Mission Jozef Naudts of Belgium, Dr Alfonso Tagliaferri of Italy and Trevor Lewis of the United Kingdom representing their respective Ambassadors.
Guy Ledoux, EU Ambassador to the Philippines said the EU, as a group, is ready to disburse some Php 2 billion (€ 35m) in grants for the Philippines this year, and some Php 2.5 billion (€ 45m)  for next year. Of the P2 billion already committed for disbursement this year, about P400 million will go to health projects and a sizeable amount to Mindanao, where the EU is involved and has been supporting the peace process. 
“What is important is that there is value-added from the aid that is given to the country. We hope these aids will be able to make us more competitive and help push inclusive growth,” said National Economic and Development Authority Deputy Director-General Ronaldo G. Tungpalan. 


Competition: Create simpler rules, enforce good governance; 24 January 2013

A forum on Fair Competition: Key to Economic Growth on Thursday, 24 January 2013 at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Makati City will highlight how competition benefits government, investors and consumers alike.

While House Bill 4835, a measure that penalizes anti-competitive agreements and mergers, and abuse of dominant position is yet to be passed, support for the bill is compelling. “Competition policy lies at the heart of a competitive economy. It is well known that no strong and sustainable growth can be attained without a solid competition law,” said H.E. Guy Ledoux, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines, one of the co-organizers of the event.


“It is important to give the right signal to foreign investors that we are really trying our very best to level the playing field,” stressed Representative Tom Apacible
The Philippines and Competition Law: Key Questions to Address
The forum on Fair Competition: Key to Economic Growth which was held 24 January 2013 at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Makati city was jointly organised by the EU Delegation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF)
“Competition policy lies at the heart of a competitive economy. It is well known that no strong and sustainable growth can be attained without a solid competition law,” said H.E. Guy Ledoux, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines


The EU and Human rights advocates push for protection of human rights victims; 04 December 2012

In celebration of the human rights week this December, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines supported by the European Union gathers on 4 December in Mandarin Hotel to raise attention to the human rights violations cases and to call on all sectors to help protect victims of these violations.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux reiterates European Union's commitment to  uphold human rights annoucning that it has provided more than Php 47 million in 2012 to support human rihts projects of four civil society organisations during the gathering organised by the National Council of Churches of the Philippines in partnership with the European Union on 4 December 2012 to call on all sectors to help in protecting victims of human rights violations.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III,  who was a keynote speaker in the NCCP event said that the "victim-centric approach to human rights legislation and enforcement is by no means meant to provide the great solution to problems in the enforcement of human rights laws. Rather it is a perspective that we can adopt when determining the minimum mechanisms we need to have in place in order to carry out the prosecution of human rights violations".   
Currently, the European Union is providing funding support to the National Council of Churches in the  Philippines with a grant of 250.000 Euros (13.2 million PHP) to strengthen and consolidate the efforts of its member churches, associate members and partner organizations working towards the promotion and protection of human rights defenders. 
In celebration of the human rights week this December, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines supported by the European Union gathers on 4 December in Mandarin Hotel to raise attention to the human rights violations cases and to call on all sectors to help protect victims of these violations.
The human rights event was attend by H.E. Joachim Heidorn, German Ambassador, Mr. Jozef Naudts, First Secretary from the Embassy of Belgium, Jakub Cerny of the Embassy of Czech Republic, Mr. Pascal Slivanski, Political Counselor, Embassy of France, Ms. Nikolas Verghis, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Greece and Mr. Aria Rodriguez, from the Embassy of Spain. H.E. Ivo Seiber, Swiss Ambassador was also present.
The Media covered the event
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III answers queries from the media
In the Philippines, the European Union provided a total of Peso 47 million grants in 2012 to support human rights projects of four civil society organisations. In the photo, Mr. Lubomir Frebort, Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation (Left most), and representatives from the EU Member States, with Mr. Philipp Woshitz, also of the EU Delegation (Right most)


European Higher Education Fair 2012 opens in Manila; 14 November 2012

European Union and Philippine officials open European Higher Education Fair dubbed as "Brighter Prospects" on 14 November 2012 at the Peninsula Hotel. The Fair marks the 25 years of the European Union's Erasmus Scholarship and Mobility Programmes and provide a platform for dialogue and exchange of best practices between Philippine and EU Universities and higher education institutions.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux with other EU Member States Ambassadors togther with Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan launch this year's EHEF 2012
Ambassador Ledoux said that the conduct of the Fair is another milestone in pursuing further the collaboration on higher education and research between the Philippines and the European Union. The EHEF 2012 is a reaffirmation of the commitment of the European Union to give priority to higher education in view of the challenges of globalisation and toenable third country students to get wider and the best access to education opportunities". he said.

Secretary Luistro pointed out that he was still hopeful that Filipinos given the chance to study under the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus scholarship and mobility programme will come back to share what they have learned abroad.
Chairperson for Higher Education Patricia Licuanan told reporters that exposure to education systems abroad will benefit Filipino students as it is a venue for them to “expand their horizons.”
For decades, the EU never ceases to provide quality education, through scholarships, to deserving students and professionals worldwide. In fact, since 2004 almost 200 Filipinos have benefitted from Erasmus Mundus (EM) scholarship programme, said Julian Vassallo, EU Delegation political counselor
A distinctive feature of the EHEF 2012 in Manila is the participation of the more than 20 alumni of the EU's Erasmus Mundus' scholarship and mobility programme who excelled in various disciplines led by Ms Sheila Balbutin, Vice- President of the Erasmus Mundus Association – South East Asia chapter.
Almost 2,000 students, faculty, researchers and academicians grabbed this chance and trooped to the European Higher Education Fair.
“I think we are more than ready to engage again in a new mode that will allow us to become real partners with the European Union in terms of competitiveness,” he said, boasting of the Philippines’ taking “great strides in showing we can be at par with the world in terms of education standards.”  - Education Secretary Armin Luistro 


Mrs. Norica Nicolai, Member of the European Parliament, visited the Philippines from 28 October to 2 November 2012

In her capacity as rapporteur for the recently signed EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) Mrs. Norica Nicolai, Member of the European Parliament, visited the Philippines from 28 October to 2 November 2012. She had meetings with several government agencies to discuss various areas of cooperation covered by the PCA. The PCA was signed on 11 July 2012 by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Asthon and is now awaiting ratification by the European Parliament and the 27 Member States' parliaments. 



Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meets European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission Jose Barroso during the 9th ASEM; 5 to 6 November 2012

President of the European Council Herman VAN ROMPUY and President of the European Commission José Manuel BARROSO met today with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic, in the margins of the ASEM 9 Summit. The meeting between the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission with the President of the Philippines is a culmination of the high level political dialogue between the two sides in the year 2012, reconfirming their determination to bring the bilateral relations between the European Union and the Philippines to the new heights. 

CLOSER PH-EU TIES. Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso chat with Aquino during the Philippines-EU trilateral meeting in Vientiane. Photo by Lauro Montellano/Malacañang Photo Bureau
President Van Rompuy and Barroso congratulated President Aquino on the recently forged Bangsamoro agreement. Photo by Lauro Montellano/Malacañang Photo Bureau
Both sides expressed satisfaction with the progressing development of EU-Philippines trade and investment relations and agreed to work together on their further strengthening and deepening, including by addressing in a pragmatic way any possible open issues. Both sides agreed to expand their bilateral economic exchange, through securing the attractiveness of the Philippines as a destination for the European Union investments and the place of the European Union as a major market for the Philippines exports.
President of the European Council Herman VAN ROMPUY and President of the European Commission José Manuel BARROSO extended an invitation to President Aquino to visit Brussels. 


Philippine President Jejomar Binay attends European Development Days in Brussels; 16 to 17 October 2012

"EDD 2012 gives us an opportunity to assess our past development cooperation efforts. But, more importantly, it also provides an excellent venue to chart the course of future partnership between the Philippines and the EU." the Philippine Vice President said.  photo by: European Commission Audiovisual Services 
Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response receives Jejomar Binay, Vice-President of the Philippinesphoto by : European Commission Audiovisual Services
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva discusses Humanitarian Aid with Jejomar Binay, Vice-President of the Philippines.photo by: European Commission Audiovisual Services
Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, citing several high-level visits between Philippine and European leaders during the year, said “2012 is shaping up to be a landmark year in the development of EU-Philippines relations.” Mr. Ledoux made the comments ahead of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s visit to EU headquarters in Brussels, for the European Development Days.photo by : Office of the Vice President 


EU Ambassador Ledoux witnesses disaster risk reduction programmes in Southern Leyte; 28 September 2012

Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines witnessed progress in disaster risk reduction programmes in Leyte and has commended the collaborative efforts of the local government units, NGOs and the communities to help save lives and to lessen damages in times of disasters. The European Union provided Saint Bernard at least Php 20 million (€ 384,000) in DRR funds across five years while the LGU contributed Php 2.6 million (€ 48,000) as their counterpart. The EU contribution is on top of other equally significant inputs of other local and international NGOs to the municipal LGU. The EU disaster preparedness programme aims at improving the capacities of at-risk communities to prepare for and protect themselves from natural disasters. For 2012-2013, the EU has allocated PHP 130 millions for disaster preparedness actions in the Philippines.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux turns over the key to the trading post, a food facility project assisted by the European Union, to Saint Bernard Mayor Rico Rentuza. Ambassador Ledoux was in  Southern Leyte to keynote the National Congress on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and to monitor disaster preparedness initiatives in the province.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Saint Bernard Mayor Rico Rentuza cut the ribbon to open the trading post, a food facility project assisted by the European Union. Looking on are Mr Celso Dulce of CARE Nederlands, ECHO humanitarian aid officer Arlynn Aquino.  Ambassador Ledoux was in  Southern Leyte to keynote the National Congress on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and to monitor disaster preparedness initiatives in the province.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux cites the importance of diaster risk preparedness to mitigate the effects of disasters during the National Congress on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation held in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux inspects the early warning systems in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, which is a joint project of the community with assistance from the municipal government and the European Union. The systems enable the communities to evacuate even before disasters hit Saint Bernard.
Ambassador Ledoux commended the collaborative efforts of the local government units, NGOs and the communities to help save lives and to lessen damage in times of disasters. He was in Southern Leyte to also monitor disaster preparedness initiatives in the province.

For 2012-2013, the EU has allocated PHP 130 millions for disaster preparedness actions in the Philippines.


Cine Europa 15; 05 September to 21 October 2012

The 15th edition of the Cine Europa Film Festival will open with a splash at Shangri-La Plaza on 5 September including a performance by the Manila String Quartet, a painting exhibition by local artists and the screening of the movie "Upperdog" to mark the inclusion for the first time of a movie from Norway. To mark its fifteenth year Cine Europa will draw on its collaboration with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to double the number of Film Festival locations from three to six. In addition to keeping its long-standing tradition of screenings at:Shangri-La Plaza ( 6 to 16 September);Ayala Center in Cebu (21 to 24 September); Liceo de Cagayan in Cagayan de Oro ( 27 to 30 September);

Cine Europa 15 will then continue in its three new locations: FDCP Cinemateque, Davao (4 to 7 October);FDCP Cinemateque, Baguio (11 to 14 October); and FDCP Cinemateque, Iloilo (18 to 21 October).

“Cine Europa allows us Europeans to show you what makes us laugh, what makes us cry and what makes us tick. We hope that cinema will do its magic and help us get to know each other a little better,” said Julian Vassallo, political counsellor of the European Union’s (EU) Delegation to the Philippines.
Mr. Benedict Olgado of FDCP, Dr. Julian Vassallo, Political Counsellor of the EU Delegation and Marline Dualan from Shangri-la Plaza face the media during the Press Screening. Lapland Odyssey from Finland was shown to the media.
The European Union forged a partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines in 2011 and both are pleased that it has flourished and strengthened. Through this, the Council welcomed Cine Europa in their three Cinematheques in Davao, Baguio and Iloilo, allowing more Filipinos to experience European culture. Shangri-la has been the home of Cine Europa ever since it started in 1998 and this year, the EU is even more grateful with the additional theatre the Shang has provided for film festival's educational component.
Just like the European Union, the French Embassy has a partnership agreement with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) which promotes cultural exchange through film.
Cine Europa is an annual event the European Union embassies and consulates organise with the EU Delegation taking the lead. Switzerland has also joined the film festival. This year, the film festival welcomed Norway as it shows Upperdog.
Chairman Briccio Santos welcomes Cine Europa in Davao as it opens with the film " Will you marry us" from Switzerland. At the center is Mr. Juerg Casserini of the Embassy of Switzerland in Manila.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux (2nd from left) and Austrian Ambassador Wilhelm Donko (right most) goes to Davao where Cine Europa opens for the first time in FDCP's Cinematheque.


EU Ambassador unveils peace murals and reiterates EU's commitment to the peace process; 25 September 2012

In support of Peace month launched by President Benigno Aquino III on 14 September, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux unveiled peace mural and billboards at Cotobato City Airport on 25 September. The murals and billboards display paintings of the children of Maguindanao who participated in a competition organised by the International Monitoring Team, of which the European Union is a member, with the Department of Education of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

A total of 20 peace murals and billboards are spread across Central Mindanao replicating drawings of children from Talayan and Datu Piang who won in a peace painting contest entitled "Dreaming of Peace in my Barangay." The initiative aimed at broadening the support base for the peace process through the inclusion of the voices of children and young people who are often caught in the crossfire.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux is encouraged by the news that the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has gone closer to concluding the peace talks. The EU, a member of the International Monitoring Team, announced a new grant of Php 462 million to support the peace process, by financing humanitarian, rehabilitation and development components.
The EU Ambassador thanked the children adding that "in this critical period and all along the path towards peace, your drawings will serve the central purpose of reminding us how, why, and for whom one is striving to achieve that goal"
The new EU grant announced last July will also provide funding for an International NGO which is a member of the International Contact Group and support a series of confidence-building measures and other initiatives in the areas of women's rights, governance and security.


The EU and the Philippines sign Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; 11 July 2012; Phnom Phen, Cambodia

Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice- President of the European Commission, signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario today in Phnom Penh, at the sidelines of the 19thARF Ministerial meeting.


"With the Philippines, Europe has a long historical relationship. We share many common beliefs such as on human rights or on democracy. The level of trust between the Philippines and the EU is such that sensitive political issues are already part of our daily work, be it co-operation on counterterrorism, non-proliferation or the peace process in Southern Mindanao, where the EU is a willing and engaged partner," said Catherine Ashton.

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement is the first agreement between the EU and the Philippines since 1980.

EU HRVP Catherine Ashton and Philippines Albert Del Rosario sign the EU and the Philippines Partnership Cooperation Agreement on 11 July 2012 in Phnom Phen, Cambodia

"With the Philippines, Europe has a long historical relationship. We share many common beliefs such as on human rights or on democracy. The level of trust between the Philippines and the EU is such that sensitive political issues are already part of our daily work, be it co-operation on counterterrorism, non-proliferation or the peace process in Southern Mindanao, where the EU is a willing and engaged partner," said Catherine Ashton.

The EU – Philippines bilateral relations are legally based on the 1980 EC-ASEAN Cooperation Agreement and over the years have significantly developed into a close partnership. The EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) will form a wider relationship between the EU and the Philippines encompassing cooperation in a broad range of areas. The PCA was negotiated between both sides and concluded in June 2010.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux offers a toast to Foreign Affairs Underscretary Laura del Rosario to celebrate the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Philippines.
In his speech, EU Ambassador affirming High Representative Catherine Ashton's statement by saying "Indeed, the PCA will be a new and comprehensive framework that will take our bilateral relationship to a new level of intensity. For the past 30 years Philippines-EU relations were governed by the Cooperation Agreement between what was then called the European Economic Community and ASEAN. As bilateral links between the Philippines and the EU have considerably evolved since then and are ever deepening, it was felt by both sides that this needs to be reflected by an appropriate instrument.


Competition Policy & Law and the Media; 15 June 2012

The "Competition Policy & Law and the Media" seminar aims in orienting government information agencies and media organisations on competition law and its economic and governance benefits, and the role of media in the advocacy of competition policy and law.

In his closing remarks during the "Competition Policy and Law and the Media" seminar,  EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux highlights the advantages of having a strong competition policy and law
The seminar was initiated by the Department of Justice and its Office for Competion under Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy award the certification of appreciation to Ms. Abalos
EU envoy welcomed and congratulated the media for attending the seminar citing the Government's efforts towards ensuring fair competition and a level playing field. 
"We are more than happy to share experience we gained in the process with the Philippines and support it in its efforts to develop its own competition policy. Indeed the EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance Project, third phase, scheduled to start later this year and with a total budget of 448 million pesos, has identified capacity building in relation to competition policy as one of the five key areas of support." Ambassador Ledoux said.


European Union welcomes Philippines' accession to the Madrid Protocol; 30 May 2012

The Philippines has become a member of the Madrid Protocol the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) announces. This will make it easier and more affordable for companies to register their trademarks here in the Philippines and abroad as trademarks registered through the protocol will be automatically registered in member-countries. The Philippines’ major trading partners including Japan, United States, China, Singapore, Korea, Australia and the European Union are all members of the Madrid Protocol.

Before Philippine business groups, intellectual property lawyers and other stakeholders at a seminar held in the Philippines' Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL), EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux highlights the benefits of the Madrid Protocol, citing that making use of the registration of trademarks under the Madrid system can boost local businesses to expand globally.
Accession to the protocol will provide Filipino brand owners with a cost effective and efficient mechanism to seek trademark protection not only in the Philippines but also in its major international trading partners that are already members of the Madrid Protocol.Andrew Michael S. Ong, Deputy Director General for Legal, Policy and International Relations (Left) and IPO Director General Ricardo Blancaflor (center) with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux
Two international experts discussed in a series of seminars how the Madrid system works and how best to use it. The seminars were supported by the EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance, a four-year EU-funded project with a budget of 360 million pesos aimed at supporting economic integration of the Philippines into the regional and international trading community for poverty alleviation.


EU Ambassadors meet the NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP); 28 May 2012

On 28 May, Ambassadors from European Union Member States  and Head of the EU Delegation in the Philippines, Mr. Guy Ledoux, met with the Philippine NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) at Bantayog Memorial, Quezon City - a well-known place of commemoration for the victims of Martial Law and torture. The diplomats were welcomed by Sister Crescencia Lucero, Co-Chairperson of the TFDP Board, and by Executive Director Emmanuel Amistad. The visit was a welcome opportunity not only to receive an implementation update of a project funded by the EU with PHP 2.750.000 but to also discuss the situation of human rights in the Philippines, especially with regard to the upcoming 2nd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the country, to take place on 29 May 2012 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux says, "Whilst significant progress has been made in the area of human rights more needs to be done..." The Philippines is scheduled to undergo its second Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council on 29 May 2012.
Romanian Ambassador (left) Valeriu Gheorghe with other EU Member State diplomats were briefed on the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines' work
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate Executive Director, Max de Mesa (1st left), Sister Crescencia Lucero, Co-Chairperson of the TFDP Board (2nd left), EU Ambassador Ledoux (center) and Romanian Ambassador Valeriu Gheorghe
Spanish Counsellor, Antonio Garcia Groger meets Sister Crescencia Lucero, Co-Chairperson of the TFDP Board. 
 


Ambassador Guy Ledoux highlights EU-Philippines relations on Europe Day; 09 May 2012

Ambassador Guy Ledoux highlights EU-Philippines relations and Erasmus Mundus' 25th Anniversary
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario recognise in a toast the strong EU-Philippines relations and vow to further enhance ties.
The Far Eastern University Bamboo Band plays the Philippine Anthem and the EU Hymn
Europe Day 2012 -- 62nd anniversary of the Schuman Declaration
Filipino Erasmus Mundus scholars narrate their experiences whilst studying in Europe


European Union envoys visit BPO at PEZA: "We are up for more business"; 18 April 2012

Today a group of Ambassadors of the European Union (EU) and its Member States visited Vestas Services Philippines Inc., a European BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) active inthe field of renewable energy, located within the Philippine Export Zone in Makati City. During the tour the Ambassadors were able to witness how EU investments contribute to the thriving BPO sector in the Philippines. PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima welcomed the delegation, representing the EU and ten EU Member States.

EU Ambassadors and representatives meet with PEZA Director General Lilia De Lima at Vestas
DG Lilia de Lima briefs EU envoys
Danish Ambassador Svend Waever
Finn Poulson, Managing Director of Vestas Philippines Inc, explaining the services provided


Tools and Techniques for Detection and Investigation of Anti-Competitive Practices with Focus on Cartels; 27 to 29 February 2012; Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila

The workshop "Tools and Techniques for Detection and Investigation of Anti-Competitive Practices with Focus on Cartels" was funded through the EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme 2. TRTA contributes to the reduction of poverty in the Philippines through further integration into the international trade system. It is implemented by the Philippine government with an EU grant of 417 million pesos. In the next phase of the Programme 2012-2016, with a budget of 448 million pesos, a special component to support competition policy is foreseen. 

Ambassador Ledoux addresses the participants of the three-day workshop stating that this is a welcome development and timely of the need to step up regulatory framework on competition to create favourable investment climate and level playing field for economic project.
DOJ Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy articulates before the participants cases of “inconsistencies” in importing then exporting an agricultural commodity such as sugar. This inconcistencies he says puts the buying public at a disadvantaged due to higher price of sugar.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux (center) attends culmination activity of the three-day workshop on the Tools and Techniques for Detection and Investigation of Cartels. With him are the EU Programme Manager for Trade Benedikt Madl (left) and  Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy. Thw workshop is implemented by the DOJ under the Rapid Response Facility component of the EU-funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA).
EU-TRTA cartel detection and investigation expert Carolyn Galbreath cites how cartel operates and how this can be addressed to protect consumers and correct market dynamics.  
EU Ambassador G. Ledoux and Justice Assistant Secretary G. Sy, the workshop facilitator Ms. Carolyn Galbreath, TRTA programme director Brenda Mendoza with the participants in the workshop coming from the Department of Justice, regulatory agencies and the academe


1st EU-Philippines Energy meeting; 27 February 2012

With shared ambition and common policy objectives in mind, the EU Delegation to the Philippines, EU Member States Embassies and the Department of Energy will jointly organise the 1st EU-Philippines Meeting on Energy on February 27, 2012. 

The theme for this year's meeting will be "Sharing Experiences on Renewable Energy Promotion".

The event will be jointly opened by EU Ambassador Guy Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jose Almendras and Senator Edgardo Angara, who authored the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.  

Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras and Senator Edgardo Angara launch the1st EU-Philippines Energy meeting dubbed as: "Sharing Experiences on Renewable Energy Promotion"
Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. presents "The National Renewable Energy Program: The Road Starts Here."
Mrs. Ruby de Guzman of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau, explains "Renewable Energy Act of 2008"
Mr. Pete Maniego Jr. of the National Energy Renewable Board elaborates on the "Status of Renewable Energy mechanisms"


EU and the Philippine Department of Agriculture launch food safety e-portal; 31 January 2012

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) with the Delegation of the European Union to Philippines launch the Department's food safety e-portal. AgricultureSecretary Proceso Alcala said the portal “will be useful to the private sector stakeholders as the codified issuances may be accessed electronically, thereby facilitating trade through improved information availability and transparency of food safety related regulations and measures which the industry needs to know and comply with.” Ambassador Guy Ledoux said: "We strongly support the Department of Agriculture in its efforts further enhance its food safety regime. This is good for Philippine consumers and consumers of Philippine food worldwide. Aligning to international standards will improve the access of Philippines food exports to markets abroad. Getting the regulatory framework right and making it easily accessible is key."

The officials are one in noting that the food safety portal is an important tool to making information available to the food safety regulators of the agriculture department and its various stakeholders far and wide.
Agriculture officials (from left to right) Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano and Secretary Proceso Alcala with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Hans Farnhammer, EU Delegation head of Development Cooperation participate in the press conference organised in the launch to reach out to more agriculture stakeholders.
The creation of the portal is supported by the European Union under the second phase of the Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA).
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux with Deputy Director of the National Economic and Developement Authority (NEDA) and other officials listen to the presention on how the portal was developed. 


EU diplomats visit Cagayan de Oro to express support to Sendong victims and assess progress in relief assistance; 04 January 2012

EU Ambassador leads a group of EU diplomats on a visit to Cagayan De Oro, Northern Mindanao on 4 January to express support for vulnerable families affected by typhoon 'Sendong' (International name: Washi). European Union aid for tropical storm Sendong victims reached Php 389 million making the EU the largest foreign contributor in relief aid for typhoon-stricken Northern Mindanao.

The EU was one of the first to respond to provide immediate aid to the typhoon victims as three EU humanitarian experts from European Commission Humanitarian Aid went to Cagayan de Oro City on 19 December 2011 to assess the damage of the typhoon. The EC in Brussels on the same day already allocated a total of € 3 million as relief assistance for the typhoon-hit region.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux with Chairman Richard Gordon of the Philippine Red Cross meet local officials.
Hundreds of families were affected by storm Sendong with most of them fleeing their homes as flood water and landslides destroy properties. More than a thousand people were reported dead. 
Ambassador G. Ledoux during the visit addresses the victims affected by Sendong
With the help of the Philippine Red Cross, humanitarian aid of the EU is passed on the affected people.


7th PH-EU Senior Officials' Meeting; 12 to 13 December 2011

The Philippine Government and the European Union held their Seventh Philippines-European Union Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) from 12 to 13 December 2011 at the Diamond Hotel, Manila.  The SOM is the Seventh since it started in 1997 and the first since the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS).  On this occasion, two Financing Agreements were concluded by the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Elisabeth Buensuceso and by the EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux. The EU Ambassador confirmed that "The new projects address key areas in the expanded bilateral relations namely environmental protection including climate change and maternal and child health which are fully in line with the Philippine Development Plan".

 

EU Ambassador Guy Ledox and Philippines Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elisabeth Buensuceso sign two financing agreements addressing key areas in the expanded bilateral relations namely climate change and maternal and child health. The new projects provide an additional amount of Php 550 million grants on top of the more than Php 65 billion grants provided over the past 25 years.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elisabeth Buensuceso reconfirm strong bilateral ties between the Philippines and the European Union 
Senator Loren Legarda gives a book on environment to European External Action Service Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, Mr Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, during the latter's courtesy call on her. EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux accompanied Mr Isticioaia-Budura who led the EU delegation in the EU-Philippines Senior Officials Meeting in Manila.
Mr.  Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, European External Action Service Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, (second from left) pays his courtesy call on Secretary Teresita Deles and reaffirms European Union's commitment to promote peace-making and peace-buildingin the Philippines. From left are Mr. Marek Repovsky, European External Action Service, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Mr. LubomirFrebort, EU Delegation to the Philippines.
The Delegation of Philippines and EU officials, who participated in the 7th Senior Officials Meeting


EU support for customs reform confirmed; 17 October 2011

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux met with recently appointed Bureau of Customs (BOC), Commissioner Rozanno Rufino B. Biazon and confirmed the European Union's support to key reform efforts of the Bureau. In emphasising the BOC's vital role, Mr. Ledoux stated in the margins of the meeting "The Bureau of Customs is the entry point for international trade to the country and it plays a key role in the Philippines' efforts to further strengthen its position as a hub for trade and investment."

EU Ambassador H.E. Guy Ledoux met with recently appointed Bureau of Customs Commissioner Hon. Rozanno Rufino B. Biazon. The meeting confirmed EU support to key reform efforts of the Bureau.
European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux (third from left) examines the police manuals funded under the European Union Philippines Justice Support Programme (EPJUST)  during the visit of EU ambassadors to the Philippine National Police on 21 July 2011 in Camp Crame, Quezon City.  Police Director Arturo Cacdac discusses basic points covered in the manual to the EU envoys  Ambassadors Josef Rychtar (Czech Republic Embassy), Robert Brinks (Royal Netherlands Embassy), Guy Ledoux (European Union)  and Jorge Domecq (Spanish Embassy). The EPJUST  aims to assist Philippine society in bringing an end to extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances. It started on 23 Novemer 2009 and ended on 31 July 2011 with a budget of 3.9 million euros or PhP 234 m.   
Ambassador Guy Ledoux : "This port symbolizes the intensive trade relationship between the EU and the Philippines. A relationship we hope to expand further." With  Mr Ledoux are Italian Deputy Head of Mission Alfonso Tagliaferri and German Ambassador Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lotsch. 14 April 2011
EU Head of Delegation Ambassador Guy Ledoux leads 13 EU Member States Ambassadors in a visit to the Manila International Container Portand the Bureau of Customs last 14 April 2011 in relation with the EU Delegation's Trade Related Technical Assistance project with the Bureau of Customs.
EU Ambassadors led by former Head of Delegation Alistair MacDonald meet with President-Apparent Ninoy Aquino on 1 June 2010.
Erasmus Mundus alumni meet and brief incoming Erasmus Mundus students in the EU Delegation in Makati City last 30 July 2009. The Erasmus Mundus programme has benefitted more than 120 students since 2004.


History of EU-Philippines relations

Ambassador to the European Union, His Excellency Enrique Manalo and European Commission's Asia Director, James Moran exchange documents after the initialling of the EU-Philippines Partnership Cooperation Agreement on 25 June 2010 in Brussels, Belgium
EU Heads of Missions visit development and humanitarian projects in Mindanao from 21 to 22 October 2008
Giovanna Corda of the European Parliament meets with Muslim women from  Midsayap during  the parliamentarians' visit last 7 May 2009  to development projects including the Rajah Buayan loom weaving initiative under the Support to Agrarian Reform Communities in Central Mindanao  in Cotabato, Southern Philippines.
Secretary General of the Council of the EU and High Representative of the CFSP, Dr. Javier Solana meets with the press at the sidelines of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum Meetings held in August 2007 in Manila
Secretary General of the Council of the EU and High Representative of the CFSP, Dr. Javier Solana, discusses the importance of ASEAN for EU during  the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum Meetings in August 2007 in Manila
EU ambassadors cut the Treaty of Rome anniversary cake to highlight the 50 years of EU's founding since 1957 held in Makati City on26 March 2007
European Commission Director General for External Relations Eneko Landaburu  pays a courtesy call on Philippine President Her Exellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February 2007.
The Asia-Europe Meeting held on September 2006  in Finland was a historically significant event as it also marked the tenth anniversary of the ASEM cooperation forum. The theme "10 Years of ASEM: Global Challenges - Joint Responses", reflects both the joint objectives and global developments
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson inaugurates the new office of the EC Delegation to the Philippines on 15 May 2006 at  the RCBC Plaza, Makati City
"Moving Backward….Moving  Forward" by Vicente Jaime Villafrance (Programme on Rehabilitating Internally-Displaced Persons and Communities in Southern Philippines), Cotabato City, September 2005
Seedling Production by Bobby Timonera (Consolidation of Socio-economic integration process of marginally internally displaced farmers in Lanao del Norte, Mindanao), September 2004
EU officials and staff from the then European Commission Delegation to the Philippines, EU Member States, European schools and business sectors parade in Ayala Avenue, Makati City last September 2004  to mark the largest enlargement of the European Union in 2004.
The late President Corazon C. Aquino meets with former Head of Delegation Alistair MacDonald, Simon Le Naelou & Mario Ferrucci in March 1986
Together with the late President Corazon Aquino and EC Commissioner Abel Matutes is the Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapuz and the Papal Nuncio on 16 May 1991
EC Commissioner Abel Matutes and the late President Corazon Aquino offer a toast for enhanced bilateral relations between the European Union and the Philippines on 16  May 1991
EC Commissioner Abel  Matutes, responsible for  relations  with   Mediterranean, Asian  and Latin American  countries, and the late President Corazon Aquino open the European Commission Delegation office on 16  May 1991 at the Salustiana D. Ty Tower, Makati City