EU in­creases as­sis­tance to Bhutan

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The Euro­pean Union’s (EU) as­sis­tance to Bhutan has been in­creased from Euro 42mil­lion to 48 mil­lion for the pe­riod 2014 to 2020.

The EU as­sis­tance has fo­cused on re­new­able nat­u­ral re­sources and good gov­er­nance, dis­as­ter man­age­ment, trade, and ca­pac­ity build­ing, among oth­ers.

That was what To­masz Ko­zlowski, EU am­bas­sador to Bhutan, said to Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tobgay on 31 Jan­uary in Thim­phu.

He said that Bhutan was pro­gress­ing mean­ing­fully and the core val­ues of democ­racy, re­spect for hu­man rights, free­dom, and de­cen­tral­iza­tion that bind the EU was pre­dom­i­nant in Bhutan.

Ly­onchen thanked the EU for its as­sis­tance and mak­ing a huge im­pact on the coun­try. He said that EU’s as­sis­tance to Bhutan has grown sig­nif­i­cantly over the last few years. “Ev­ery Euro is hard to earn and so it will be used at the best,” he said.

He also talked on the free health­care and ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices in the coun­try which, he said, can­not be com­pro­mised.

Ly­onchen also high­lighted Ge­wog De­velop- ment Grant (GDG) and Dzongkhag De­vel­op­ment Grant (DDG) which are in line with EU’s de­cen­tral­iza­tion pol­icy.

Bhutan also re­ceives EU as­sis­tance of euro 4.4 mil­lion un­der the Global Cli­mate Change Al­liance, ECHO, fund­ing dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness and re­sponse, higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing through the Eras­mus Mun­dus pro­gram.

The am­bas­sador, To­masz Ko­zlowski led the team of heads of mis­sions of EU mem­ber states to Bhutan on a good­will visit to strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Bhutan and the EU and with EU mem­ber states.

The am­bas­sador of Es­to­nia, Panos Kalogeropou­los, and Riho Kruuv, the am­bas­sador of Lithua­nia, said that Bhutan’s lead­er­ship is an ex­cel­lent pro­moter of the coun­try. “I found a lot of tal­ent, wis­dom and good hope,” Riho Kruuv said, adding that small but will­ing coun­tries like Es­to­nia are ea­ger to strive in the midst of big neigh­bors.

Ly­onchen also said that Bhutan has dif­fi­cult ge­o­graph­i­cal ter­rain which makes de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties chal­leng­ing and so the per capita cost of any in­vest­ment and ser­vice de­liv­ery is high. He, how­ever, said that this is what makes Bhutan.

The EU am­bas­sador was ac­com­pa­nied by his del­e­ga­tion which in­cludes the am­bas­sador of Czech Re­pub­lic, Mi­lan Hovorka, the am­bas­sador of Greece, Panos Kalogeropou­los, the am­bas­sador of Es­to­nia, Riho Kruuv, the am­bas­sador of Lithua­nia, Lai­monas Talat Kelpsa, High Com­mis­sioner of Malta, Stephen Borg, Charge d’ Af­fairs a.i of Spain, Mag­dalena Cruz, and Coun­selor, EU Head of co­op­er­a­tion, Jo­hann Hesse.

Ly­onchen con­veyed Bhutan’s grat­i­tude to the EU and to its mem­ber’s states.

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