MANILA – The Philippine government is seeking an expanded maritime cooperation with the European Union.
During the second Philippine-EU joint committee meeting in Makati on April 26, Manila proposed a new subcommittee on maritime matters and floated the possible expansion of cooperation on maritime jurisdictions, security, ocean governance, shipping, and seafaring with the EU.
In a joint statement released April 27, the two parties also expressed concern over "unilateral actions that endanger peace, security and stability and the international rules-based order".
Referring to the South China Sea row, the two underscored the importance of abiding by international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and recalled the landmark 2016 Arbitration Award.
"The two parties agreed to further explore modalities for strengthening cooperation on the full scope of maritime matters," the joint statement read.
Among the subjects also discussed is how to enhance partnership on environment and climate change; disaster management and preparedness; fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; connectivity; and science and technology.
The second joint committee was held in a hybrid format with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro and European External Action Service Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific Gunnar Wiegand heading the Philippine and EU delegations, respectively.
Its main agenda was to review ongoing bilateral cooperation under the Philippines-European Union Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and discuss possible future cooperation initiatives.
The joint committee builds upon the outcome of the three subcommittee meetings on Trade, Investment, and Economic Cooperation; Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights; and Development Cooperation last year.
The next Joint Committee meeting will take place in Brussels in 2023. (PNA)