The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today and discussed several matters including Sri Lanka’s GSP+ application.
The High Representative congratulated the Sri Lankan authorities for their achievements over the past 21 months and reaffirmed the European Union’s continued support to the Sri Lankan government and its reform agenda, which is committed to improving governance, to fighting against corruption, to strengthening economic growth, and to protecting human rights, for the benefit of all Sri Lankans.
The HR/VP and the Prime Minister discussed the process of national reconciliation in the country, highlighting the importance of addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and beginning a process of healing. They also discussed the implementation of last year’s UN Human Rights Council Resolution, which was co-sponsored by the Sri Lankan government. The steps taken so far send a clear signal that the Sri Lankan government is committed to move towards genuine reconciliation and accountability: processes which the European Union will continue to support.
The European Union has nearly doubled its development assistance to Sri Lanka to €210 million (approximately 34 billion Sri Lankan Rupees) for the years up to 2020 compared to the previous period (2007-2013). The EU will finance projects across a wide range of areas, including in support of the government’s reconciliation priorities under the Peacebuilding Priority Plan, the resettlement of Internally Displaced People, assisting transitional justice and building local government capacity, as well as supporting development in Sri Lanka’s poorest areas.
Progress has been made across a number of areas in bilateral EU-Sri Lanka relations, including the resumption of Sri Lankan fish exports to the EU in June this year.
The HR/VP welcomed Sri Lanka’s GSP+ application, which would give the country preferential access to the European Union’s market.
The High Representative informed the Prime Minister of the state of play in the ongoing, technical application assessment, while the Prime Minister committed to making additional efforts to implement Sri Lanka’s international human rights, labour and environmental commitments, so as to give the highest possible chance for a successful application. Regional issues in South-Asia were also discussed during the meeting. (Colombo Gazette)