By Azer Parrocha

ASEAN-EU SUMMIT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos leave for Brussels, Belgium on Sunday night (Dec. 11, 2022). The President will attend the Association of Southeast Asian-European Union Commemorative Summit from Dec. 12 to 14. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. left for Brussels, Belgium on Sunday night to attend the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN)-European Union (EU) Commemorative Summit from Dec. 12 to 14.

Marcos and his delegation left the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City before 8 p.m.

He was invited to attend the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit by European Council President Charles Michel.

In his predeparture speech, Marcos said it will be the first meeting between ASEAN and EU member states leaders at the EU headquarters in Brussels.

“…After the successful series of summits hosted by ASEAN chair Cambodia last month, I look forward to a productive and meaningful summit that recognizes ASEAN and the EU’s four and a half decades of longstanding relations and this we will continue to do and we are very proud,” he said.

He vowed to highlight the Philippines’ role as country coordinator for ASEAN in its dialogue relations with the EU.

Aside from pursuing ASEAN interests as country coordinator for the EU, he assured commitment to push for the Philippines’ interests, particularly in post-pandemic economic recovery and trade, maritime cooperation and climate action.

“Although I am representing the Philippines, I am now also representing all of ASEAN but nonetheless as I have mentioned, Philippine interest will always enter into all my discussions,” he said.

Marcos said he will deliver the closing remarks at the C-Suite Luncheon and at the 10th ASEAN-EU Business Summit hosted by the EU ASEAN Business Council.

He said these events “provide an opportunity to drum up economic interest once again and engagement for the Philippines in view of the presence of key business leaders in Europe at the event.”

Marcos will also meet King Philippe of Belgium and hold bilateral meetings with some of his counterparts in Europe.

He, meanwhile, expressed excitement about meeting with the Filipino community in Belgium.

Last Friday, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritu said President Marcos is expected to hold 10 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the ASEAN-EU Summit.

He is expected to meet with the leaders of Belgium, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and the EU. (PNA)