Prime Minister meets Commission President Barroso
Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Sushil KOIRALA met His Excellency President of European Commission President Mr. Josse Manuel BARROSO at the latter's office in the Berlaymont Building in Brussels on 30 September 2014. The two leaders discussed various aspects of bilateral relations between Nepal and the EU as well as exchanged views on issues of regional and global concern.
During the meeting Prime Minister KOIRALA appreciated and thanked EU and its member states, which constitute together the largest development partner and second biggest trade partner of Nepal, for their continued cooperation and support to Nepal's development efforts. He also expressed happiness at the EU's decision to triple its assistance to Nepal for the current programming period of 2014-20 compared to the same duration in the preceding period of 2007 - 2013. He remarked that this increase of development cooperation to Nepal is a mark of EU’s support and goodwill towards Nepal and Nepalese people at the critical phase in Nepal's current transition to democracy.
After the talks with the Commission President the Prime Minister said, "We are engaged in institutionalizing the values and principles of democracy, human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms that we share with EU. Nepal is at the final stage of the political transition towards drafting a democratic constitution that would reflect the aspirations of our people to live in a democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous society. In this regard, we are endeavouring to create an inclusive, just and democratic socio-political edifice. "
Addressing the press meet, the European Commission President Mr. BARROSO observed that the cooperation agreement signed between Nepal and EU in 1996 provided a solid ground for working together and, as a result, political relations between the two sides have progressed to become a partnership of dialogue and mutual respect. He expressed satisfaction at the ongoing dialogue on issues of common concern such as peace and stability, development, human rights and trade.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the President said, "We have followed with interest the recent political and constitutional developments in Nepal. I very much welcome the successful Constituent Assembly elections of November 2013 and the commitment to promulgating a new constitution by February 2015. We remain a consistent and whole-hearted supporter of a democratic and inclusive constitution."
"Political transition and stability can and should be underpinned by economic development. I commend your efforts and progress on the Millennium Development Goals and I welcome the government's ownership of the development process, including an (ambitious) vision of graduating from least developed country status by 2022."
Speaking about the EU decision to significantly increasing EU's development cooperation for 2014-2020 to the amount of €360 million, the President said that the new cooperation aid is designed to complement Nepal new Development Cooperation policy 2014, with focuses on sustainable rural development; education; and good governance.
In the context of Nepal hosting the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) on 22-28 November, Mr. BARROSO observed that EU as a convinced supporter of regional co-operation both in Europe and beyond would like to wish a success for the summit to charter ways ahead for further regional integration.
Prime Minister KOIRALA is visiting Brussels from 29 to 1 October 2014 on his way from New York to Kathmandu. During his stay in Brussels he held a meeting with the Nepalese Ambassadors in Europe and Israel and instructed them on the priorities and policies of the Government. He is also expected to meet the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the European Commission tomorrow.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by H.E. Ambassador Ram Mani POKHAREL, Acting Foreign Secretary Mr. Shanker Das BAIRAGI, Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Ms. Mridula KOIRALA, as well as other Nepalese officials during today's meeting with the European Council President.