The nine-member delegation to Brussels, Belgium met with European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux on 17 March 2015 in preparation for their visit to the capital of Europe on March 23-26, 2015.
Rep. Dina Abad (Lone District, Batanes), Rep. Malou Acosta-Alba (First District, Bukidnon), Rep. Kaka Bag-ao (Lone District, Dinagat Islands), Rep. Kit Belmonte (Sixth District, Quezon City), Asec. Kael Co (Presidential Communications Development & Strategic Planning Office), SR Cruz (Liberal Party) and Adrian Martinez (Kabataang Liberal), with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Philippines Country Director Jules Maaten and FNF Philippines Project Manager Minnie Salao will meet with their liberal counterparts in Europe to discuss party structures and voter communication.
The delegates will meet with Members of the European Parliament including their counterparts from the Belgian Reformist Movement, Dutch D66 and VVD, and Estonian Reform Party who are all liberal parties in government. A meeting with Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström of the European Commission is also scheduled.
The Philippines was recently granted a Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status by the European Commission. This means that there is zero tariff or a duty free entry of Philippine exports to the EU. The Philippines is the only country in the ASEAN that has a GSP+ status.
"The EU unilateral concession significantly improves the attractiveness of the Philippines as a destination for new investments. Zero percent tariff will translate into more competitiveness for the Philippines and more jobs for Filipinos," said Ledoux.
There are 27 international conventions related to human and labor rights, environmental protection and good governance attached to the GSP+. "The implementation of these will further confirm the commitment of the Philippines to improve governance in several areas, which will eventually bring more foreign investments. Truly, we inspire each other," added Ledoux. We Inspire Each Other is the title of the EU-Philippines partnership campaign.
"Liberal governance in the Philippines, which has been directed towards poverty reduction by establishing a culture of integrity and the dignity of labor in the bureaucracy, has allowed it to address the country's most compelling development needs," replied Abad.
The delegation will also meet with the Filipino community in Belgium-Luxembourg. A dinner reception will be hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union Victoria Bataclan.
The information program is co-organized by FNF Brussels and FNF Philippines. "EU-Philippine relations are in better shape than ever before. We look forward to interesting discussions on how to make the Philippine liberal government sustain its success in the next 14 months and hopefully beyond 2016," said Maaten.
Watch the video:
The European Union and the Philippines: Inspiring Each other in Business