Marcos Jr. gets EU invite to visit Brussels in Belgium

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Marcos Jr. gets EU invite to visit Brussels in Belgium
European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Luc Véron, pays courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on May 30, 2022.
Twitter / EU Ambassador to the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — After getting invited to Washington, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has also received an invitation from the European Union (EU) to visit Brussels in Belgium.

Since European Council President Charles Michel was not able to attend Marcos Jr.’s inauguration last week, Michel invited the latter to visit “at a mutually convenient time.” 

“We have much to discuss, from our bilateral relations, EU-ASEAN ties, and wider foreign policy issues, to support for the rules-based international order,” Michel said in his letter to Marcos Jr. 

In 2018, the EU and the Philippines’ Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) entered into force. The PCA provides a legal framework, which allows the bilateral relations between the two to strengthen in “political, social and economic matters.”

The EU said it is "stepping up its strategic engagement" with the Indo-Pacific region. It has committed to contributing to the region's stability and sustainable development as well as to respecting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, among others.

The invitation to Brussels was personally relayed to Marcos Jr. last week by European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Luc Véron. Véron represented both Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the president's inauguration last week.

The EU also hopes Marcos Jr. will attend the upcoming EU-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Commemorative Summit, which will be held in December this year at Brussels. The EU and the ASEAN will be celebrating their 45 years of partnership this year.

EU and human rights

In February, amid campaign season, the European Parliament approved a resolution condemning “war on drugs” killings and the red-tagging of activists and journalists in the Philippines as it warned of possible trade sanctions if calls remain unheeded.

The resolution called on the Philippine government to immediately end violence and human rights violations targeting suspected drug offenders and to stop labeling human rights and environmental defenders, journalists and trade union activists as supporters and allies of communist rebels.

The European Parliament issued similar texts in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Since he won the elections, Marcos has stressed the “importance of ensuring high-level of accountability in terms of human rights [violations].”

Home issues first

Last week, United States President Joe Biden also invited Marcos Jr. to visit Washington when the latter's schedule permits. 

Marcos Jr. is also welcome to attend the upcoming United Nations climate change conference or the COP27 (Conference of the Parties), which will be held in Egypt in November, as well as to Norway’s conference on maritime and energy issues.

However, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez in an interview last week said Marcos Jr. wants to prioritize the issues at home first before going on diplomatic trips.

So far, the only international conference Marcos Jr. has confirmed his attendance to is the in-person Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit that will be held in November in Thailand. — with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

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