As EU Ambassador Jessen says in the foreword of the book, "Trade is one obvious area that reflects our growing and deepening relations. The bilateral trade that was worth €2.5 billion in 1990 has grown to almost €13 billion in 2015. The EU has also i ncreased its investments in the Philippines and is the largest foreign investor in the country".
"The European Union has increased from 12 Member States in 1991 to 28 today, from a population of 375 million to more than 500 million. It has weathered many crises. As it tries to maintain its global and regional position, it looks at pushing even further its relations with ASEAN, including the Philippines, which assumes its chairmanship this year". Ambassador Jessen noted the high-level exchanges which have continuously taken place over the years. People-to-people links have never been stronger, and added the increasing presence of the Member States’ embassies augur very well the importance given to the country by the European Union, as Poland is expected to open its Embassy following in the footsteps of Hungary and Sweden this 2016.
The book features personalities who have been engaged with the EU Delegation to the Philippines one way or another – Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, Filmmaker Brillante Mendoza – and numerous other stakeholders from the government, press, academe, cultural sectors and civil society organisations.
It is comprised of three main chapters – Stronger Together, Windows of Hope and Silver Linings with a foreword from EU Ambassador Jessen and a message from Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad. The book also includes memoirs from previous Heads of Delegation including Jan de Kok, Alistair MacDonald and Guy Ledoux.
About the Authors:
Joyce Babe Pañares has been a journalist for 13 years, a decade of which was spent covering the administrations of President Gloria Arroyo and President Benigno Aquino III. She finished AB Journalism from the University of the Philippines and her Masters Degree at Ateneo de Manila University as a full scholar of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. She teaches Journalism in Kalayaan College and is a member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Chin Wong has been a journalist since the 1980s, starting as a reporter for Business Day, Southeast Asia’s first daily business newspaper. In 1991, he helped found Computerworld Philippines, which he edited until 2002. He is associate editor for Manila Standard and a lecturer in Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University and the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and an AB in Journalism from the University of the Philippines.
Romel 'Ismit' Mendez is the art director of Manila Standard. He took up classes on Fine Arts in UP Diliman and Civil Engineering in PUP. He is the founding president of Panday Pira or the Pandayan ng Pilipinong Kultura, a progressive art group. He is an active member of the Samahan ng Kartonista ng Pilipinas.
Cover photo is by Reu Dawner Flores who won second place in the recently-held EU Delegation-organised photo competition "IC EUropa in U".
The editorial board was composed of EU Ambassador Franz Jessen, Minister Counsellor Mattias Lentz, and Thelma Gecolea, public affairs officer.