The European Union says the Government of Sri Lanka has made significant advances since the presidential elections held in January 2015 to restore democratic governance, initiate a process of national reconciliation and re-engage with the international community.
The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said he will be discussing with the Sri Lanka authorities the most appropriate way to support the new political momentum initiated by the new Government in 2015 in the years to come.
Neven Mimica, who is on a visit to Sri Lanka, will hold a series of high-level meetings, including with the President of Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other senior members of the Government. The Commissioner will also meet with civil society representatives, including those working on women’s empowerment, child rights, disappeared people and media freedom.
Speaking at the opening of the new EU office in Colombo today Neven Mimica said that over the past year, the European Union and Sri Lanka have turned a new page of partnership and have rejuvenated their relations.
“Today is my first day of a short but I hope fruitful dialogue with the Government of Sri Lanka and the civil society. This visit will be an occasion to strengthen our bilateral ties through the signing of two Financing Agreements with the Government of Sri Lanka amounting in total to 38 million euros. These will restart our full cooperation to provide Trade related assistance and to support for rural development in the poorest and most vulnerable districts of the Central and Uva Provinces,” he said.
He says the European Union has emerged as a key partner in Sri Lanka across a range of fields including development, climate change, trade, aid to displaced populations.
“As we share the joy of inaugurating the Delegation’s new home, we also look to the future together with the people of Sri Lanka. We stand in solidarity to embrace our shared vision and commitment to safeguarding our common principles and values: democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and the respect for international law,” he said.
He said the new EU building opens up a new space for cooperation, and the EU is looking forward to welcoming Sri Lanka and the Maldives Governments, international and regional organisations, civil society organisations and all those with interest in the European Union to its new workplace. (Colombo Gazette)