MANILA, Philippines – EU Ambassador Franz Jessen had nothing but praises for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for the latter’s hosting of the ASEAN summit
In a bilateral meeting, Jessen thanked Duterte for the hospitality and treatment as he affirmed the ties between the European Union and the Philippines.
This is the first time an EU diplomat has praised President Duterte.
“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. And the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) conference has been handled beautifully by the president in the Philippines,” InterAksyon quoted him as saying. “So I think in behalf of the leaders, and everybody, I want to thank you and I want to thank the Philippines.”
“We are your ally. We are an important ally,” he added.
Duterte earlier had blasted the European Union over criticism of his human rights record. Jessen, however, assured him that things will change for the better between EU and the Philippines soon.
The EU ambassador also touted his union’s gains after he assumed office: claiming that their economy has been re-invigorated.
“We’ve had the highest stock market we’ve ever had, we’ve had the lowest unemployment in 17 years, and the value of stocks has risen €2.5 trillion. And companies are moving in to the EU, a lot of companies are moving back. They want to be there,” he said. “The enthusiasm levels are the highest ever recorded on the charts.”
According to Jessen, a strong EU economy also means good news for ASEAN as the union seeks stronger ties between the two.
“We think that bodes very well for your region because of the partnership that we have so we want our partners in the region to be strong, independent and prosperous. In control of their own destinies and satellites to no one,” he said.
Jessen was not among the attendees of the ASEAN summit, but Duterte met him following the ASEAN closing day on Monday. /Joy Valle/