MANILA - The European Union (EU) on Monday welcomed the Senate's concurrence in the ratification of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation Between the Philippines and the European Union (PCA).
The Senate, on Monday, approved the treaty on third and final reading. Twenty senators voted yes; there were no negative votes and no one abstained.
According to EU Ambassador Franz Jessen, the approval is a "major milestone" and a big step forward for EU-Philippines relationship.
"The PCA will serve as a general framework to allow better collaboration between the EU and the Philippines in a number of crucial areas including in political, economic and development issues," the EU said in a statement.
Diplomatic relations between the EU and the Philippines started in 1964, and it has remained a partner of the Philippines since then.
"From the EU side, we will do everything to keep the relationship with the Philippines robust, dynamic and positive," Jessen said.
EU is one of the country's largest export partners. EU member-states also represent the largest foreign direct investments in the country.
Senator Loren Legarda said the agreement will serve "as a solid platform for dialogue" between the EU and the Philippines.
She said the PCA will "bolster the Philippines’ status as a beneficiary country under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and provide basis for concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU."
Legarda said the prospective FTA aims to enhance market access for goods, services, and investments for the two sides.
"The EU also continues to prove to be a committed development partner. As of June 2017, the EU ranks 4th among sources of grants from official development assistance (ODA) and 8th among the combined sources of loans and grants of ODA. The EU’s total ongoing ODA portfolio to the Philippines amounts to €190.48 million," she said