26th June, Vientiane – Today, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the European Union held a joint event to celebrate 20 years of cooperation. The event was attended by the EU Delegation to Laos, Lao Government officials, as well as national and international partners of the EU. The celebration was also attended by Mr. Pierre Amilhat, Director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific at the EuropeAid Office in Brussels, on the occasion of his visit to Laos.
Minister of Planning and Investment, H.E. Dr. Souphanh Keomixay confirmed that "The EU has been a long standing partner to the Lao PDR since 1997 and we look forward to our continuous collaboration under the framework of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals".
In his remarks, EU Ambassador to Lao PDR, Mr. Leo FABER, said "Twenty years ago, in April 1997, the EU signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The Agreement recognised the excellent relations and ties of friendship and cooperation between at the time the European Community and the Lao PDR. With the signature of the Agreement, we had laid the foundation for our cooperation".
They jointly opened a photo exhibition that represents some of the milestones of the cooperation between Laos and the EU over the last 20 years, since the signing of the cooperation agreement in 1997 to the opening of EU office in 2003, and the posting of a first resident Ambassador in 2016, the current Ambassador Mr. Leo Faber.
The EU is now one of Laos' biggest development partners in terms of grant aid for development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The EU programme for Laos focuses on nutrition, education and governance, but also tackles issues such as UXO clearance, gender equality and climate change. Since 2016, European partners (EU, EU Member States and Switzerland) are coordinating more closely on development cooperation through the European Joint Programming (2016-2020), which sets out a common vision and priorities. The European development partners and Laos have a long standing, strong and dynamic partnership. The dialogue has been continuous on issues related to sustainable development, improving social service delivery and Laos' transition to an inclusive, open and modern society based on good governance and the rule of law.
The EU has supported the Lao PDR in its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and will continue to provide assistance for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and our common Agenda 2030. At the heart of the SDGs is also to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (SDG 16). The EU supports the efforts of Lao PDR to graduate from the Least Developed Countries by 2020. The National Socio-Economic Development Plan is recognised as the Government’s development policy and poverty eradication instrument with a five-year planning horizon (8th Plan 2016-2020), and the EU follows its formulation and implementation closely, striving to align its support with it.
The EU is also committed to fair trade and open markets. Making trade easier is an important part of the EU’s strategy to help development and reduce poverty. EU cooperation helps the Lao PDR develop its trade to maximise economic development and poverty reduction and integrate the country into the world economy.
Mr. Pierre Amilhat was on visit to Laos to discuss how to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation, in particular in the areas of public finance management, planning and investment, education and trade. He had very fruitful meetings with Ministers of Finance, Planning and Investment, Education and Industry and Commerce.
For further information, please contact Ms Thongvone SOSAMPHAN, EU Delegation to Lao PDR, email: Thongvone.SOSAMPHAN@eeas.europa.eu
European Joint Progamming document: https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/laos_jp.report.web_.31.03_017_0.pdf