Aquino meets Europe leaders

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III on Monday met with several leaders of the European Union (EU) at the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM9) Vientiane, Laos.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President had a bilateral meeting with Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg where the recent signing of framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was discussed.

Valte added that maritime relations, economic cooperation, and the entry of Filipino workers in Norway were also tackled.

Aquino's meeting with Stoltenberg was followed by a trilateral meeting with the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

Among the topics discussed were the peace process, EU ban on Philippine air carriers, Philippine-EU partnership and cooperation agreement and the European assessment of the Philippines' compliance to the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, said Valte.

She added that the President also discussed the welfare of Filipino overseas workers in Europe to all leaders he met.

After the meetings, the President attended the ASEM group photo session with the heads of the delegations.

Thereafter, he participated in the ASEM enlargement ceremony where the chairman of the summit welcomed the three new members of the ASEM—Norway, Switzerland, and Bangladesh.

President Aquino also attended the opening ceremony of ASEM9 and followed by the regular plenary session where the member nations discuss financial and economic issues concerning Asia and Europe.

Valte said expected to be discussed in the plenary session is the Euro-zone financial crisis. "There will be a dialogue on the sharing of experiences from the different heads of state on what particular measures that their countries had to put in place in order to cope with the financial crisis."

"Second, this will center more on the dialogue for economic and financial restructuring in light of the crisis. The third topic, I am told, is that there will also be an opportunity to discuss a green economy apart from the usual intra-regional connectivity and trade and investment facilitation and liberation," she added.

At 9:30 p.m. (Manila time), the President will be attending the dinner for all the heads of states as well as their respective delegations.

The President will then meet with the Philippine media delegation for the usual coffee meeting. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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