The European Union said on Tuesday it is more than doubling its grant aid to the Philippines in the next seven years to 325 million euros ($383.5 million, P17.7 billion) from 130 million euros in the previous period.
Delegation and EU Member States Embassies launched on Tuesday the 2015 Joint EU-Philippines Development Report highlighting their development cooperation programs implemented over the last three years while setting out their priorities for 2014-2020.
Over the next seven years, EU assistance will focus on two key areas: (a) The rule of law and (b) inclusive growth through sustainable energy and job creation.
The EU said the new strategy will address governance and climate change which are key areas of the new global sustainable development goals, which are expected to replace the MDGs (Millennium Development Goas) this year.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that the European Union reaffirms its commitment to help the Philippines in its economic, social and political reform processes, by way of strengthening the rule of law and inclusive growth through access to sustainable energy and job creation.
In order to finance these ambitious goals, NEDA Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan and Ambassador Ledoux signed a letter confirming the new seven-year EU multi-annual indicative program strategy that more than doubled EU grant assistance to the Philippines from 130 million euros in the previous period to 325 million euros, a significant increase of 150 percent.
“The signing is a reflective of strong partnership of EU and the Philippines in pursuit of creating better lives for Filipinos. The increase of EU assistance is also reflective EU’s continued commitment to support the Philippine government efforts to significantly reduce poverty mainly through massive generation of quality employment and sustained government reforms,” Tungpalan said.
Tungpalan said that the EU development assistance is huge boost to the mid-term update to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016 particularly in the areas of sustainable energy, job creation, and strengthening the rule of law.
The decision to more than double EU Development assistance to the Philippines follows just weeks after the granting by the EU of GSP+status to the Philippines in line with the EU’s strategy to support poverty reduction using the tools of both aid and trade.
The granting of the GSP+ and its related tariff reductions in December 2014 will create many thousands of jobs for Filipinos in the Philippines directly contributing to poverty reduction.
As the largest source of foreign direct investment in the Philippines, European companies have created already sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Philippines.
“The Philippines and EU have long enjoyed fruitful partnership. The EU ranks as one of the largest partners of the Philippines with $12.5 billion in total trade in 2013 and exports with EU at double-digit growth in 2013,” he added.
Ledoux emphasized that Mindanao will continue to direct a more than proportional amount of its assistance as part of its contribution to the peace process.
In past years the EU and its member states have been working with the Philippine Government to reduce poverty through various programs including on the rule of law, energy security, public health.
Ledoux said: “The significant increase in aid has been granted in the context of the progressive improvement of governance under the current administration. Emphasis will be on achieving concrete results and maximizing the impact of the EU funding provided to the benefit of Filipinos across the country.”
Also present in Joint Report are Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx, Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo, French Ambassador Gilles Garachon, Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen, Greek Ambassador Constantina Koliou, and Czech Chargé d’Affaires a.i Jan Vytopil, presented the Joint Report together with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux.
Representatives of the United Kingdom and Austrian and Belgian Ambassadors were also in attendance.