The ‘Friends of Sri Lanka Group’ was re-launched by the newly elected European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Chairman of the Group Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP, British Conservative, who founded the Friends Group in 2006 made the opening remarks. Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka Grace Asirwatham, who recently assumed duties in Brussels was welcomed by the Members of Friends Group.
Eleven MEPs from 8 European countries belonging to 5 Political Groups represented in the present Parliament, Political Advisers of the Groups and officers of the Sri Lanka Embassy, Brussels participated.
Ambassador Asirwatham briefed the Friends Group on the current political situation in Sri Lanka, the follow-up to the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, and on recent developments in EU – Sri Lanka relations.
In response to questions from the MEPs, she described the constitutional reform process and the steps taken to bring about reconciliation following the defeat of the LTTE, the need to encourage more tourism from Europe and the benefits of the GSP+ facility, which helps enhance EU – Sri Lanka trade and contributes to Sri Lanka’s economic development.
The Friends of Sri Lanka Group agreed to meet again in September after the summer recess to continue their support for Sri Lanka in the European Parliament.