The European Union (EU) assured that their assistance to Bhutan would continue beyond 2020 during the seventh biennial consultation between Bhutan and the EU in Brussels on November 23.

Director General, Department of Bilateral Affairs, Kesang Wangdi, led the Bhutanese delegation and the Deputy Managing Director for Asia and Pacific, European External Action Service, Paola Pampaloni, led the EU delegation.

The two sides reviewed the on-going development cooperation under the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme for 2014-2020. The Consultation noted satisfaction progress in the implementation of the programme supported by the EU. The EU delegation confirmed that the EU commitment for the current cycle (2014-2020) has been revised to Euro 45.5 Million, an increase of Euro 3.5 Million from the original allocation.

The Consultation discussed Bhutan’s impending graduation from the Least Developed Countries category. The Bhutanese side briefed the consultation on the 12th Five Year Plan and highlighted its priority areas. They underscored the importance of EU’s engagement with Bhutan’s development plan beyond 2020.

Bhutan also receives additional assistance from other regional and thematic funding mechanisms of the EU in areas such as education, climate change and trade.

Referring to Bhutan-EU relations as a model partnership, the EU delegation commended Bhutan’s achievement in areas such as good governance, climate change and in reducing poverty.

The next consultation will be held in Bhutan.

Staff Reporter