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Commissioner Piebalgs in Bangladesh to support encouraging progress for poverty reduction and strengthen development cooperation

European Commission - IP/11/759   20/06/2011

Other available languages: FR DE

European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Piebalgs in Bangladesh to support encouraging progress for poverty reduction and strengthen development cooperation

Brussels, 20 June 2011 - On Tuesday, 21 June, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs will arrive to Dhaka (Bangladesh), together with German Development Minister Dirk Niebel, for an official visit to the country. Commissioner Piebalgs will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and several senior members of the Government to reaffirm EU support for Bangladesh’s sustainable and inclusive economic growth and social development. He will also meet leading representatives of civil society and visit several EU-funded projects.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: Bangladesh is an emerging success story among Least Developed Countries. Thanks to its encouraging economic growth over last few years, 15 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty. But these efforts must be enhanced if Bangladesh is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As a reliable long-term partner, the EU will continue to support Bangladesh in our common goal of combating poverty and creating conditions for sustainable development of the country.

The EU, together with its Member States, is the largest donor to Bangladesh, with €403 million earmarked from 2007 until 2013 to support human and social development, governance and human rights, economic and trade development, environmental protection, climate change and food security. Total EU assistance to Bangladesh amounts to approximately €100 million per year.

Political Meetings and agenda of the mission

At the meeting with the Prime Minister, Commissioner Piebalgs will discuss ongoing cooperation to support Bangladesh's aim to become a middle-income country within the next ten years. Strengthening democratic development, the human rights situation and bilateral cooperation on regional and global issues are also on the agenda.

During a meeting with Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Minister of Finance - who is responsible for coordinating EU support to Bangladesh - the Commissioner will discuss ongoing reforms in public finance management and aid effectiveness.

On the second and third day, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit several EU-funded, focusing on: social sector (education, health and rural employment), energy and environment and labour standards in key export areas (see examples in the Memo).

Background

The European Commission has had a partnership with Bangladesh, the seventh most populous country in the world, since 1973, two years after the country’s independence. The latest Co-operation Agreement, signed in 2001, considerably broadened the scope of co-operation, extending to trade and economic development, human rights, good governance and the environment. The main forum for political dialogue is the EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission, composed of senior officials and held every alternate year. The next meeting will take place in 2012 in Brussels

The EU is Bangladesh’s main trade partner. Bangladesh’s total exports to the EU amounted to some €6.6 billion (0.4% of total EU imports) in 2010. Bangladesh benefits from the most preferential trade arrangement granted unilaterally by the EU to 50 LDCs (the Everything but Arms scheme - EBA).

For more information:

MEMO/11/431

Website of Development and Cooperation DG - EuropeAid:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)


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