Philippine President Benigno Aquino III visits France [fr]
French-Philippine bilateral relations take another step forward as President Benigno Aquino III embarks on a visit to France from September 17 to 19, 2014.
The President will be arriving in Paris on September 17 from Brussels, Belgium, and will leave for Berlin, Germany on September 19.
The occasion will not only be the President’s first visit to the country since his election in 2010, but will be the first visit of a Philippine head of state to France since 1994.
President Aquino will be accompanied by a delegation composed of 10 cabinet secretaries, together with representatives from the Philippine private sector.
Upon his arrival in Paris, President Aquino will be welcomed with military honors at the Arc de Triomphe and will proceed to the Elysée Palace for a bilateral meeting with French President François Hollande.
Both heads of state will witness the signing of agreements in the areas of culture, education, transportation, and communications, among others.
A joint communiqué will be given before the press, to be immediately followed by a lunch hosted by President Hollande.
President Aquino will then proceed to the Hotel Matignon later in the afternoon for bilateral talks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
In the morning of September 18 at the Intercontinental Hotel, President Aquino will formally open the Philippines-France Business Council organized by the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF) International and the Department of Trade and Industry.
MEDEF International is a non-profit private-funded organization that represents over 4,000 French companies operating all over the world. A delegation from MEDEF International were in Manila last April for a business forum organized by the French Embassy in the Philippines and the Philippine Embassy in France.
President Aquino will then proceed to the Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI), a Paris-based think tank, to deliver a policy speech.
“Today, we are witnessing an exciting phase in bilateral relations between France and the Philippines,” said French Ambassador Gilles Garachon.
“We are riding a momentum of increased cooperation between our two countries, which started when then-Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Philippines in 2012,” he added.
The former prime minister was the first French head of government to undertake an official visit to the Philippines since diplomatic relations with France were formalized.
According to Ambassador Garachon, “President Aquino’s trip to France, as well as to the other European countries and to the European Union, shows the existing partnership between our governments, as well as the continuing friendship between our peoples.”
“This visit is expected to reap economic, political, and cultural gains for both our countries, which we hope would lead to greater opportunities for bilateral cooperation. Perhaps next year, we could see a visit by President Hollande to the Philippines,” he concluded.