Jigmi Wangdi

The European Union and Bhutan signed a 15 million EUR budget support agreement as Bhutan prepares to graduate from a low-income country in 2023.

This is the first delegation from the European Parliament after Covid-19 Pandemic.  The visit signifies a strong relations between Bhutan and EU.

The visiting delegation met with government officials to discuss how the EU could improve parliamentary interactions and areas of co-operation.  The vice-president of the EU Parliament, Evelyn Regner said, “We had a very open conversation with the ministers of finance, agriculture, and economic affairs on co-operation between the EU and Bhutan.”

She also said that it is important to focus on the future on the country, especially since Bhutan will soon be transitioning from the LDCs.

The EU will extend its support to Bhutan under the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Indicative Programme focusing on three priority areas: climate change, green growth and self-reliant Bhutan, and digital transition as a driver for change in education and public service delivery.

Regner said that it is important to look at Bhutan’s clean renewable energy harnessed through the hydroelectric power plants.

“There is room for Bhutan to grow further with hydroelectric plants by incorporating modernised and advanced technology in the hydropower projects,” she said. “Another area that Bhutan can focus on is food sufficiency and this is why the agreement we signed also focuses on sustainability and diversification of agriculture.”

Regner said that the delegation also discussed global scheme of preferences plus (GSP+) and how it can work in Bhutan with the government officials.

Regner said that the outcomes from Bhutan’s transition from LDC to LIC would depend on the decision of the country. “The GSP+ could be a good option for Bhutan in the future,” she said.

The EU-Bhutan cooperation started with a development project in 1982 focusing on RNR.

Diplomatic relations between the EU and Bhutan was established in 1985.