Brussels, 14 August 2013
Commissioner Piebalgs to attend Presidential inauguration in Paraguay
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will represent the European Union (EU) in the ceremony of inauguration of the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, in Asuncion on August 15, after having been elected in April this year. While in Paraguay, the Commissioner will take stock of the country's progress and challenges and will discuss priorities for future EU development cooperation.
Commissioner Piebalgs said: "We are glad to have accompanied Paraguay in some of its most crucial reforms in the last years, such as education, social protection policies, reducing poverty and improving business environment. Now we have to look ahead and to ensure that future cooperation addresses the real priorities for the Paraguayan people and builds on past EU actions. I am confident that my discussions in Asuncion with the new government will be fruitful and will show us the way ahead."
Relations and cooperation between the EU and Paraguay have intensified during the last years, not only in development cooperation and trade but also through dialogue aimed at promoting shared values and principles. The deployment of an EU Election Observation Mission to Paraguay for the general elections on 21 April 2013 - which resulted in the election of President Cartes and Vice-President Juan Afara - as well as the appointment for the first time of a Head of the EU Delegation based in Asuncion are signals of EU's commitment to step up its relations with Paraguay.
Tentative Programme of the Commissioner
In addition to participating in the celebrations of the inauguration of the new President and Vice-President, Commissioner Piebalgs will hold meetings with Paraguayan authorities and with representatives of civil society to exchange views on Paraguay's challenges and priorities for the next years. Commissioner Piebalgs will also visit two EU-funded development projects in the areas of education and social development, two of the main areas of EU assistance in Paraguay.
EU bilateral assistance to Paraguay during the years 2007-2013 amounts €130 million under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The main areas of cooperation include:
Paraguay is also involved in all the thematic and regional programmes in Latin America, the most significant participation being in education, where more than 20 higher education institutions participate in academic cooperation projects supported by the ALFA programme; social cohesion with significant implication of Paraguay in EuroSocial related to social policies (labour, equitable access to health services, fiscal education); renewable energies as 45 remote communities in Paraguay received photovoltaic kits to provide energy for basic services; and climate change investment projects supported in the framework of the Latin America Investment Facility (LAIF).
Thanks to EU support over the past few years more than 70 schools have been rehabilitated, about 3400 teachers have been trained and the coverage of school supply kits has expanded from 32% in 2008 to 100% in 2012. In the area of social protection, EU support allowed improving access to drinking water to more than 28000 people and has contributed to increasing the number of beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer programme from 19000 families in 2008 to 90570 in 2012.
For more information:
MEMO/13/743: EU – Paraguay relations
IP/11/233 European Union to observe elections in Paraguay on 21 April 2013
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs: