Ambassadors from the European Union on Wednesday gathered for the 2017 European Higher Education Fair, unperturbed by the President's pronouncements last week for them to leave.
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said the EU takes a "long-term view" of the bilateral relations between the EU and Philippines, noting the growth of Philippine exports to the union by 36 percent.
"We take a long-term view of the relationship. If we look at the trade relationship, for example, we have never done better than we are doing now," Jessen said.
Malacañang earlier clarified that the President's tirade was directed at a 7-member delegation of international parliamentarians, which included Europeans, who called for a halt in drug-related killings.
The EU has denied ties with the delegation and any involvement in its visit to Manila last week.
As he urged prospective Filipino students to consider seeking higher education in Europe, Jessen also encouraged Filipinos studying abroad to return home to help the President's agenda in developing the economy.
"I prefer them to come back. You have a great need for well educated, young Filipinos here and the solution to issues in the Philippines is not to have people leaving the country, working outside, sending money back home," he said.
"The solution, of course, is to develop your own economy, as President Duterte and his government is trying to do."
Engineering students Phil Carlo Monterde and April Geralyn Gonzales are among the students exploring the idea of studying abroad and developing their skills.
"Nung high school po kasi ako we have German class, gusto ko po ma experience din sa German so maybe seek knowledge pa sa Deutsche. So gusto ko na rin ipagpatuloy," Gonzales said.
"They provide opportunity for my future. Maganda kasi ang programs from other schools na nasa ibang bansa. And if there are opportunities why not," Monterde said.
More than 20 higher-education institutions from Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom participated in the fair.