17 September 2014 - To cap his two-day working visit to Belgium, President Aquino delivered a policy speech at the Val Duchesse Castle in Brussels. This event was organized by the Philippine Embassy/Mission in cooperation with the Egmont Institute - the Royal Institute for International Relations in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-European Union relations.

An estimated 200 guests from the diplomatic corps, the Belgian and Luxembourg governments and the European Union attended the event. Other attendees were from the private sector, the academe, policy think-tanks and media.

The theme of the President's speech was "Philippine relations with the European Union: shared values and prospects for cooperation." The President talked about the various reforms which his administration carried out in order to achieve the positive economic performance the country is enjoying today. He discussed anti-corruption efforts and how the Philippines fought and continued to work to win back the confidence of the Filipino people.

He also talked about his administration's firm commitment to achieving inclusive growth, justice, good governance and the rule of law. This is very evident not only in the Philippiens' domestic dealings but also in the international arena with particular reference to the disputes in the South China Sea. The President underscored the importance of adhering to the rule of law and the maintenance of peace and the freedom of navigation. He encouraged the EU and Belgium to continue to be vocal in their support for a rules-based solution to the disputes, in particular the clarification of respective claims based on UNCLOS.

The President ended his speech by recalling the statement made by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton on her occasion of visit to the Philippines in July 2014, where he emphasized the EU's desire "to strengthen political dialogue with the Philippines and to turn the relationship into a more strategically rounded partnership." The President said that the Philippines shares this desire and noted that the strength of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the EU is built on "these shared values - the rule of law, democracy, the promotion of human rights and inclusive growth. END