EU raises need to respect international law in West PH Sea

Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2023 12:40 AM

The European Union (EU) on Thursday expressed its support to the Philippines’ call to respect the international law in dealing with conflicts in the West Philippine Sea.

Speaking before the joint European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the EU-ASEAN Business Council gala dinner at Makati City where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was the keynote speaker, EU’s ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron recognized how both EU and the Philippines champion the “concept of rule of law, and a rules-based international order.”

He took note of the Philippine government’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, as well the EU’s position in issue of territorial disputes in the contested West Philippine Sea.

“Our relationship is hinged on common strategic interests. Both the EU and the Philippines champion the concept of rule of law… and a rules-based international order,” Véron said.

“We value that your country has consistently voted with the Europe and the international community to urge the end of the Russian’s aggression towards Ukraine. In the same way, we strongly recognize the need to respect international law in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

The ambassador also acknowledged the efforts of the Philippine government in creating a more conducive business climate, noting the passage of legal reforms that further opened the country to more foreign investments.

“My EU colleagues and I, as well as the chamber, are committed to help smoothen the path for the Philippines for more prominence on the EU map, but it is only your government that can keep the country on this path through effective implementation of its planned reforms,” he said.

The EU, Véron said, is also looking forward to further strengthening the relationship of the the bloc and Philippines, especially that next year marks the 60 years of their diplomatic relations.

“When we turn 60, just like what happened to some of us, we might tend to slow down and believe that we may have reached the peak. However, the EU and the Philippines are nowhere near the peak,” he said.

“While we reached many milestones in our decades-long friendship, I look forward to celebrating more,” he added.