EU increases assistance to Bhutan
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.