Unperturbed by the continuous lambasting of the European Union (EU) by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, including asking the diplomats to leave the country, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said “we’re still here and we are not only still here but we are here in great numbers.”
In front of key government officials that included Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and EU businessmen who were present at the EU-Philippines Business Summit at the Solaire recently, the EU Ambassador said that the interest of EU this year is the strong belief on the rule of law, the UN institutions, historical and cultural dates and very extensive people to people contacts.
Supporting the EU Ambassador’s statement, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Guenter Taus said, “we have to weather it but we have no reason for us to leave the country and think that investments are not coming into the country.”
“It’s business as usual. Nothing has changed and we intend to keep it that way,” he continued.
“We all have rocky roads sometimes. We have been in the country for forty years
and we intend to stay for another 40 years if not 400, ” the ECCP President added.
Difficult to maneuver
While Taus initially said that they are “getting immune to certain things,” referring to President Duterte’s tirades, he admitted the difficulty of the times. “It is difficult to maneuver in a scenario like this but it has not stopped investments from coming in,” he shared.
He was quick to note that recent pronouncements will not affect the GSP+ negotiations and the EU FTA. “Business does not mingle in politics. We see to it that business gets addressed and gets addressed adequately,” Taus mentioned.
Asked if the EU-Philippine trade relations is taken as a hostage to further negotiations, Tuas emphasized that “it was not perceived as such, we know rhetoric is rhetoric and we have taken it with a smile.”
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