Politics

France eyes joint sea patrols with Philippines 

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By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter 

FRANCE wants to conduct joint sea patrols with the Philippines and will back efforts to modernize the Southeast Asian nation’s military, according to its ambassador. 

The two nations can hold the patrols within exclusive economic zones, French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz said told a news briefing on Tuesday evening, adding that the two are already holding joint military exercises.  

France can also help the Philippines develop its nuclear and renewable energy, the envoy said. This could take time since developments are in the early stages, she added. 

“If you want to develop your own nuclear energy, you will have to put a framework into place,” Ms. Boccoz said, citing the regulatory environment, expertise and training needed for a nuclear program. “Developing this project is not going to happen this year or next year.” 

“We have experience and expertise in the different sectors of renewable energy, including the nuclear sector,” she added. 

France’s energy mix is 70% nuclear, 27% hydroelectric energy and 3% gas, Ms. Boccoz said. “The innovative competence with our energy is part of the discussions we’re getting into to help the new administration not only on nuclear but also hydrogen and other renewable energy sources.” 

France has a very low-carbon electricity mix given its large nuclear fleet, the second-largest after the United States, according to the International Energy Agency. 

As an early leader in setting out an ambitious energy transition, France legislated a net zero emission target for 2050 in its 2019 Energy and Climate Act. A national low-carbon strategy with five-year carbon budgets and a multiannual plan for energy investments complement the long-term target, it added. 

French companies are waiting for signs of government stabilization before investing, French Economic Counsellor Olivier Ginepro told BusinessWorld after the briefing. 

Not all companies can afford to wait for months, and the embassy seeks to persuade smaller French companies to continue their ventures despite risks, he said. Mr. Ginepro said there is interest in expanding trade with the Philippines in the agri-food business.