Thimphu, 22 May, 2017: Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be visiting Bhutan from 23th – 26th May. The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia will participate in the 6th inter-parliamentary dialogue with the National Assembly of Bhutan on 24th May. The visit further aims to deepen the MEPs’ knowledge of the country, including political and social developments, assess and exchange views on cooperation between Bhutan and the EU and the impact of EU support to Bhutan, with a view to strengthening the EU-Bhutan Partnership. Democratisation, Climate Change and Human rights will also be part of the discussions.
The delegation visiting Bhutan comprises of 4 members: Ms. Jean Lambert (Chair), Mr. Richard Corbett (Vice-Chair), Mr. James Nicholson (Vice-Chair) and Mr. Christian Dan Preda (Vice-Chair subcommittee on Human Rights).
During their visit, the MEPs will call on the Honorable Prime Minister of Bhutan, Mr Tshering Tobgay. The delegation is also expected to meet various officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan including Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, Minister for Finance; Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen, Minister for Home & Cultural Affairs and Lyonpo Tshogpon Jigme Zangpo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Bhutan. Besides that MEPs will meet Mr. Chogyal Dago Rigzin, Chief Election Commissioner, civil society representatives and also visit the Royal Textile Academy.
During their visit MEPs would also launch a European Union Programme in support to Civil Society in Bhutan. The EUR 2.5 million EU contribution to the project, to be implemented by HELVETAS, aims at improving the environment and operational capacity for Civil Society engagement in sustainable development and good governance by promoting an inclusive approach to strengthen civil society actors.
Ambassador of the European Union for Bhutan, H.E. Mr Tomasz Kozlowski, who is accompanying the delegation, will host a reception to celebrate Europe Day in Thimphu on 24 May.
This year the European Union (EU) is celebrating 60 years since the signature of the Rome Treaties. In the last six decades, the citizens of EU Member States have enjoyed unprecedented peace, prosperity and security. Today, the EU with a population of 500 million is the largest economy in the world, and for its success in uniting peacefully so many countries it has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
EU development cooperation with Bhutan
Through the Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for 2014-20, the EU provides assistance to the Bhutanese government in moving towards its goal of achieving self-reliance and inclusive socio-economic development as identified in its 11th Five-Year Plan, under the overarching philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). According to the MIP 2014-20, the support is invested in: (1) Capacity development for local governments and fiscal decentralization; (2) Civil Society; and (3) sustainable agriculture and forestry. This year three major agreements between the EU and Royal Government of Bhutan were signed to honour implementation of the MIP 2014-2020. Additional support has been provided to combat climate change. Including the new planned trade project for 4 million Euro, our total support stands at EUR 48 million for the development efforts of Bhutan. The EU contributes funding to some projects implemented by the UN and WHO in Bhutan. At regional level, Bhutan is also benefiting for projects in many areas, for example, disaster risk management, climate change and sustainable consumption.
About the European Union (EU)
The EU, which consists of 28 countries, has the world's largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'Member States') are all committed to the same basic values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. They have set up common institutions so that decisions on matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment. It is also at the forefront of policies on sustainability.
The EU has had a very strong presence in Bhutan since 1982. It works closely with Bhutan to reduce poverty, enhance food security and strengthen the democratisation process.
More information at: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/india/2062/bhutan-and-eu_en
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