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EU increases Phl assistance to P17 B

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union (EU) has increased its assistance to the Philippines from 130 million euros (P7 billion) to 325 million euros (P17 billion) for 2014 to 2020, focusing on key areas of inclusive growth through sustainable energy, job creation and rule of law.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and National Economic and Development Authority deputy director general Rolando Tungpalan signed yesterday a letter confirming the new seven-year EU support strategy to the Philippines.

“This increase is a recognition of improvement of governance in the Philippines,” Ledoux said in a press conference at the launching of the EU delegation and EU member states embassies of the 2015 Joint EU-Philippine Development Report at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

“We feel that EU aid to the Philippines will have more impact in the context of an administration that has a policy of improving governance and management of the funds,” he said.

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon, Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo, Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen, Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx and Czech Chargé d’Affaires Jan Vytopil and Ledoux presented the joint report. Representatives of the Austrian and Belgian ambassadors were also present.

Ledoux said the emphasis would be on achieving concrete results and maximizing the impact of the EU funding to the benefit of Filipinos across the country.

He said EU cooperation is composed of development assistance by EU institutions and contribution of individual EU member states.

EU in the last three years provided budget support for health, justice, trade-related technical assistance and livelihood activities in Mindanao, Typhoon Yolanda victims and the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Ledoux said the EU would continue to direct more funds as assistance to Mindanao as part of its contribution to the peace process.

“When you have a region in conflict then people are unhappy and who might be tempted to resort to terrorist activity… the fact the Philippine government has engaged in negotiation with the MILF, it is very encouraging and it is contributing to reducing the risk of radicalism so the EU and its member states have the support of the peace process on one side,” he said.

The EU is the Philippines’ largest grant development partner, with a total of 331 million euros (P19 billion) aid in 2013.

The decision to more than double EU development assistance to the Philippines came weeks after the granting of the GSP+ status to the Philippines in line with the EU’s strategy to support poverty reduction through aid and trade.

AFFAIRES JAN VYTOPIL AND LEDOUX

AMBASSADOR

AMBASSADOR GUY LEDOUX AND NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

DANISH AMBASSADOR JAN TOP CHRISTENSEN

DUTCH AMBASSADOR MARION DERCKX AND CZECH CHARG

EUROPEAN UNION

FRENCH AMBASSADOR GILLES GARACHON

GERMAN AMBASSADOR THOMAS OSSOWSKI

ITALIAN AMBASSADOR MASSIMO ROSCIGNO

LEDOUX

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