The Senate committee on foreign relations approved on Thursday the framework agreement on partnership and cooperation between the Philippines and the European Union (PH-EU PCA) that would allow better political and economic cooperation between the two parties.
Foreign relations committee chairperson Sen. Loren Legarda said the agreement would serve as a general framework of relations between the Philippines and the EU on a wider scope.
She said the country will benefit from the treaty through customs and trade facilitation, which will provide technical assistance and exchange of experts between Philippine and EU Customs administrations.
The treaty will also strengthen cooperation in combatting illegal drugs through strengthened information exchange, drug-related research, drug profiling and prevention of manufacture of dangerous drugs and diversion of controlled precursors.
Cooperation in combatting terrorism and transnational crimes, and migration and maritime labor are also expected to improve, according to Legarda.
Other areas of cooperation under the agreement include employment and social affairs; development cooperation; economic policy; financial services; good governance in the tax area; industrial policy and SMEs; information and communications technology; audiovisual, media and multimedia; science and technology; transport; tourism and education among others.
EU ambassador Franz Jessen in an interview after the Senate committee hearing said the approval of the PCA by the panel is a symbolic step to the PH-EU relationship.
“I think that it serves to show to us and to the world, and to us between the Philippines and the European Union how stable and forward looking our relationship is,” he told reporters.
The treaty, Jessen said, would provide new instruments and structures the two parties could work to further improve relations.
“I’m very happy that this is taken in the very heart of a democratic institution so pleased to be here today,” Jessen said.
The PH-EU PCA was one of the three treaties approved by Legarda’s panel. The other two were the social security agreements between the Philippines and the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Sweden.
The social security agreements with Germany and Sweden aim to ensure social security benefits of Filipinos working or residing in these countries.
The PH-Germany and PH-Sweden Social Security Agreements aim to improve the administration of social security benefits for Filipinos working and living in Germany and Sweden, respectively.