The European Union delegation to the Philippines launched its coffee table book "The Ties that Bind" at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City in Monday.
Philstar.com/Patricia Lourdes Viray
Coffee table book marks 25 years of EU in Philippines
(Philstar.com) - January 16, 2017 - 5:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The European Union (EU) on Monday launched a commemorative book to mark 25 years of its delegation in the Philippines.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen led the launching of "The Thies that Bind," which encapsulates the establishment of the EU delegation in the Philippines.

The book features milestones and challenges taken to further strengthen the EU-Philippines relationship.

In the foreword of the book, Jessen noted that trade is one of the areas that reflect the growing and deepening relations between the Philippines and the EU.

"The bilateral trade that was worth €2.5 billion in 1990 has grown to almost €13 billion in 2015. The EU has also increased its investments in the Philippines and is the largest foreign investor in the country," he said.

European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen holds a press briefing during the launch of the EU's coffee table book "The Ties that Bind" at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. Philstar.com/Patricia Lourdes Viray

From 12 member states in 1991, the EU has increased to 28 members today. This is an increase from a population of 375 million to more than 500 million.

"As it tries to maintain its global and regional position, it looks at pushing even further its relations with [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN], including the Philippines, which assumes its chairmanship this year," Jessen said.

Jessen added that the EU can play a more important role this year as the Philippines assumes leadership.

"We look at ASEAN as being a sister organization to the European Union so we're very happy to work with the Philippines hand-in-hand to promote also the agendas within ASEAN," the EU envoy said in a press briefing during the launch.

The EU envoy also noted that increasing presence of its member states in the Philippines as Poland is expected to open its embassy following the footsteps of Hungary and Sweden in 2016.

The coffee table book features personalities who have been engaged with the EU Delegation to the Philippines including Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara and internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza.

Its is comprised of three chapters — Stronger Together, Windows of Hope and Silver Linings — with a foreword from Jessen and a message from Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Cleofe Natividad. It also contains memoirs from previous heads of delegation including Jan de Kok, Alistair MacDonald and Guy Ledoux. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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