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Diokno advances PH-EU ties in inaugural Global Gateway Forum

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Upon the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno represented the Philippines at the very first Global Gateway Forum hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen from October 25 to 26, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

The Forum gathered over 40 top government officials from the European Union (EU) and around the world with the private sector, civil society, financing institutions, and international organizations to promote public and private investments, while underscoring sustainable development, good governance, transparency, and equal partnership.

In her opening message, European Commission President von der Leyen stressed that the EU has a “clear, strategic interest” to forge infrastructure partnerships around the world to overcome global challenges.

Furthermore, she emphasized the important role of the private sector in accelerating infrastructure development.

“We are mobilising the financial firepower of Europe’s leading companies. The magic is in this public-private teamwork – through public funds, then training and enabling regulation, a conducive environment for the private sector, so that we can provide the long-term predictability that private investors need to start ambitious projects,” President von der Leyen said.

Global Gateway is the EU’s largest-ever global investment program. It aims to mobilize up to €300 billion from 2021 to 2027 for partner countries around the world to develop smart, clean, and secure digital, energy, and transport infrastructure, as well as to strengthen health and education systems.

Through Global Gateway, the EU has already committed €66 billion to transformative projects since 2021. Almost half of these are grants that do not have to be paid back by recipient countries.

Following the historic bilateral meeting between President von der Leyen and President Marcos in Manila last July, Secretary Diokno officially signed on October 25 the financing agreement on the Green Economy Program in the Philippines – a €60-million grant which aims to support the country in areas such as circular economy, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation.

The EU is