Marcos Jr. returns to PH after ‘very productive’ Asean-EU Summit
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is back in the Philippines on Thursday night after attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union (Asean-EU) Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium, saying that the trip was very productive.
In his arrival statement, Marcos said that Asean and EU member-states’ leaders have had fruitful discussions on various issues that concern both sides.
“I’m pleased to be back in Manila, after what was a very productive Asean-EU Business Summit and Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium. Yesterday, during the Commemorative Summit, we had fruitful discussions with Asean and EU members-states’ leaders,” Marcos said.
“We exchanged views on what is in store for Asean-EU cooperation, particularly on areas of mutual interest and concerns such as connectivity, trade, digital transition, food security, climate change, and geopolitics, amongst others,” he added.
According to the President, the fact that the EU is turning to the Asia-Pacific Region for partnerships and development is significant, and may be attributed to the very cohesive organization of Asean.
“This is a very significant development that EU has turned very, very distinctly towards the Asia Pacific region when it comes to the driving force behind the new global economy,” Marcos said.
“And this is not really surprising considering that in terms of geopolitical aggravations, the EU and the Asean are two of the most active, best-organized, and cohesive organizations in the world. And to put them together is a very important partnership because it is servicing over billions and billions of people both in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific,” he added.
Marcos also touched on some key points, like the country’s repeated failure to pass the European Maritime Safety Agency’s (Emsa) evaluation over the last 16 years, which has placed seafarers’ jobs at risk.
Due to the country’s failure to meet EU standards in seafarer training, there is a risk that 50,000 Filipino seafarers would be barred from working in the region, with future deployments stalled.
In one of his speeches in Brussels, Marcos assured that the government would address the situation.
“I’m happy to be able to announce that I have met with various leading shipowners all over Europe, and we were able to get their commitment to help our country hurdle some of the challenges in our seafarers’ EMSA accreditation, through the creation of an advisory council composed of our concerned government agencies, international and local ship owners, and other stakeholders,” Marcos said.
Marcos’ attendance to the Asean-EU meet is the last of his seven official trips ever since he assumed office last June 30. He first visited Indonesia and Singapore for his inaugural state visit before flying off to New York in the United States for the United Nations General Assembly.
The Chief Executive then made an unannounced trip back to Singapore for the Formula One Grand Prix, where he met with important business leaders. He also attended the Asean meeting in Cambodia and Thailand’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.