MANILA — European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said he wants to see more Philippine government officials visiting European Union member countries this year to enhance political dialogues between both parties.
Jessen told the Philippine News Agency that conducting more dialogues among EU leaders and the Philippine government would help the bloc and the country to move “in the right direction”.
“And if I can put a wish, it would be enhancing the interaction between the Philippines and Europe in terms of visits from the Philippines to Europe. More political dialogues between the Philippine and European leaders to make sure that we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
He said the relationship of the EU and the Philippines is not a “one way street”.
“It’s not only what does Europe wanted, what do we expect, what do we ask for. It is also very much the same for the Philippines -what does the Philippines want; what they are asking for, what they are expecting. And then, it’s a question of the two sides,” said Jessen.
The envoy cited EU’s high priority on democracy, human rights, rule of law, anti-corruption efforts, climate change mitigation, and economic development, among others.
Jessen added that the Philippines and every EU member state are not “superpower nations,” hence the need for international rules-based system to ensure that the nation’s interests are protected.
“So from this perspective, you have, objectively speaking, the same interest in terms of strengthening the UN (United Nations) system, strengthening the WTO (World Trade Organization) system moving forward,” he said.
In 2017, EU Council President Donald Dusk and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström were among the high-level EU officials who visited the Philippines. Their engagements here, however, were for the ASEAN meetings as the country hosted last year’s summit.
Last week, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez led a mission to Hungary with other trade officials and some businessmen.
Jessen said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella also processed a planned visit of Philippine officials to the EU.
“We’d like to see more of this type of interaction,” said Jessen.