What the EU really means when it signed the EU-PH Partnership and Cooperation Agreement

Posted: July 12, 2012 in Economy

The EU and the Philippines recently signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which hopes to pave the way for an eventual Free Trade Agreement between the two, The move comes amid the worsening crisis of the Euro-zone and amid fresh proposals to change the Philippine Constitution removing  its protectionist provisions.

Here we examine the speech of the EU high representative as she hails the singing of the pact. What does she really mean? Text in bold from Like a Rolling Stone..

Phnom Penh, 11 July 2012

Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the signature of  the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement


Mr Foreign Secretary, Ambassadors, dear colleagues and guests,

I am very happy to be here to sign the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and the Philippines that will give a new impetus to an old friendship. It also underlines the European Union’s commitment to invigorate our relations with Asia, and ASEAN in particular. (We are happy for this opportunity to open up your markets and squeeze more profits from your economy, especially now that Europe is in a prolonged recession of which there is no immediate relief in sight).

With the Philippines, Europe has a relationship going far back in history. (Seriously, Spanish colonialism was THE high point of your historical development). We share many common beliefs, such as on human rights and on democracy (token practice notwithstanding). We both support the International Criminal Court and we stand united against the death penalty.

Because of the many personal linkages (more like business ties) which have been established over a very long time we take a particular interest in developments in the Philippines. (We have investments in your country and more than ever, we need your economy to bail us out of this crisis).

Our relations continue to grow and diversify. For example through the EU’s participation in the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao; and through our growing cooperation, for example on building capacity to address Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear challenges.

We are looking forward to the possibility of deepening our trade relations through a Free Trade Agreement.  (We’re being totally honest here. This is really what we want to get from all of this).

This Partnership and Cooperation Agreement is the first agreement between our two sides since the 1980 EU cooperation agreement with ASEAN. Since then, the world has profoundly changed, both politically and economically. (By profound change, we mean we’re in some really deep shiz right now).  We also face new challenges, on peace and security, economic development, poverty reduction and environmental concerns. (Really, really deep shiz…here in Europe….most of it our fault.)

This agreement allows us to address the challenges in a coherent and methodical way – through both dialogue and real cooperation. (No matter how one-sided it may get, the important thing here is “dialogue and cooperation”)

This combination of common beliefs and specific action is at the heart of our future partnership, and indeed, our friendship – not only with the Philippines, but with ASEAN as a whole. (We’ve signed PCA’s with Vietnam and Indonesia too).  

So I hope we will continue to get together to enhance our mutual understanding and to learn from each other and that we can work together find the common solutions to common problems.  (Really appreciate your Charter change efforts. We can’t wait to start plundering your economy). 

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