|PH assumes as Chair of ABC|
PH ASSUMES CHAIR OF ASEAN BRUSSELS COMMITTEE
The Philippines has assumed as Chair of the ASEAN Brussels Committee, with Her Excellency Ambassador Victoria S Bataclan chairing the first ABC meeting of the year on 22 January in the Philippine Embassy.
The ABC brings together the Ambassadors or Heads of Missions of ASEAN embassies in Brussels to exchange views on issues concerning ASEAN, including specifically relations with the European Union and partners in Europe, and to discuss ways to promote ASEAN to European society and the institutions of the EU.
The year 2015 marks a new chapter in ASEAN-EU relations following an agreement between the foreign ministers of ASEAN and the EU in July 2014 to prepare a roadmap this year to upgrade the relationship to a strategic partnership. In view of this, the Philippines, under its 6-month chairmanship, aims to further promote cooperation and coordination with officials of the EU institutions and other Brussels-based international organisations, as well as officials of the Belgian and Luxembourg governments.
The Philippines also hopes to lay the groundwork for cultural and other public diplomacy initiatives to raise awareness of ASEAN among the general public in the EU, especially with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community later in the year. The EU is among ASEAN’s top trading partners with trade in goods amounting to €178.6 billion in 2013. As a region, the EU is the largest investor in ASEAN, investing an average of around €13.6 billion per year for the period 2005-2012. In 2013, EU companies invested nearly US$27 billion (about €23.7 billion), representing 22.3% of ASEAN’s foreign direct investments.