European Council Headquarters, Brussels
16 September 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III started the second day of his Working Visit to the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium in a meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to the European Union (EU) for their assistance to the Philippines after the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan.  According to President Aquino, such kindness and gesture will never be forgotten by the Filipino people.

On the other hand, the EU leader congratulated the Philippines for the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that aims to bring lasting peace and development in Mindanao.

The EU is currently the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner with US$12.43 billion in bilateral trade for 2013 comprising 9.7% of the country’s total trade.  The EU is also the country’s largest investor by stock, with total investments reaching PhP440 billion, of which US$174.22 million in net Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in 2012 alone.

Likewise, the EU remains to be one of the Philippines’ top sources of development support, with the approved budget for two priority sectors being increased to 325 million euros from 130 million euros, and this will more than double in six years.  Among the reform areas identified by the EU for development cooperation are judicial and legal forms, clean energy for the poor and increased investments in renewable energy.

Moreover, the EU remains to be the second largest source of remittances from overseas Filipino workers, with the latest figure amounting to 2.3 billion euros.  Its member nations are also the largest source of Filipino seafarers worldwide.

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