|Amb. Bataclan meets EU Official|
Brussels, 21 November 2011 - Philippine Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union H.E. Victoria S. Bataclan today met with Mr. David O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's foreign policy office at the EEAS' temporary office at Charlemagne Building, European Commission.
Ambassador Bataclan and Mr. O'Sullivan exchanged views on the current state of Philippines-EU relations. Both officials expressed enthusiasm over the lifting of the UK's "scrutiny reserve" over the Philippines-EU partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) which means that UK will soon give its concurrence to the agreement.
"Aside from the PCA, we are also looking into the prospects of having a Free Trade Agreement which is strategically important for the Philippines and the EU in terms of expanding their trade and investment cooperation", Ambassador Bataclan remarked. Mr. O'Sullivan said the FTA would be the next logical step after the PCA and noted the mutual economic benefits that could accrue to the Philippines and the EU if they have an FTA.
Both officials also talked about EU's continuing role in the development aspect of the Mindanao peace process, and EU's assistance for people displaced as a result of the conflict in the region as well as to the victims of natural disasters in the country. Ambassador Bataclan updated Mr. O'Sullivan of the Philippine government's efforts to achieve sustainable peace and development in Mindanao and the ongoing peace talks with the MILF.
The Philippine Ambassador likewise updated the EU official of the developments concerning the Philippine candidature to the International Criminal Court in the person of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. She highlighted the fact that EU pushed for the Philippine ratification of the Rome Statute. Mr. O'Sullivan expressed satisfaction and wished the Philippines success in the ICC candidature.
Both officials ended their meeting with an assurance to continue engaging their offices in pursuit of a more expanded cooperation between the Philippines and the EU.
The EEAS was formally launched on 1 December 2010 and serves as the EU's Foreign Ministry implementing the Union's foreign policy and external representations. All EU Delegations around the world are being managed by the EEAS.