European Union invites Duterte to visit Europe

Paterno Esmaquel II
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen hopes President Rodrigo Duterte will 'develop his understanding of Europe' during the Asia-Europe Meeting set in October

HEAD OF STATE. The EU has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to visit Europe for the Asia-Europe Meeting in October 2018. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – The European Union has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to visit Europe for  the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in October, Ambassador Franz Jessen said Wednesday, January 24.

Jessen, head of the EU delegation to the Philippines, said the EU sent the invitation to Duterte on Tuesday, January 23, and is awaiting his response.

“I would very much like him to go there and maybe also to develop his understanding of Europe and what we’re doing in Europe. We are not spending all our time criticizing the Philippines,” Jessen said at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay hosted by the Philippine Star‘s Marichu Villanueva. 

The 12th ASEM Summit is set from October 18 to 19, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium.

Established in 1996, the ASEM aims “to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.” 

ASEM involves 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the EU, and the secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The ASEM Summit in October is set to gather heads of state and government, the European Council president, the European Commission president, and the secretary general of ASEAN.

The invitation for Duterte comes after the President slammed the EU for supposedly meddling in his war on drugs, which has killed thousands. (READ: Behind the scenes, PH scrambles to mend EU ties)

On Wednesday, Jessen pointed out that Duterte has “not been to Europe” as Philippine leader.

“He’s not been to Europe, and I think he’s actually never been to Europe, and when you think about the importance of the EU-Philippine relationship, it is probably starting to be noticeable that we haven’t had a visit from him,” Jessen said.

The ambassador said he hopes Duterte will bring back to the Philippines a “more positive understanding” of the EU. – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.