Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay was called on by H.E. Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development Cooperation at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang yesterday afternoon.
Lyonchhen conveyed that RGoB accorded high importance to the relationship with the European Union (EU) and stated that it was an honor to receive the Commissioner and his delegation in Bhutan.
Lyonchhen expressed that the EU has been extending substantial assistance and development cooperation to Bhutan since 1982 and Bhutan has benefitted a lot from their aid. EU’s support has proven to be most constructive in alleviating poverty, uplifting RNR and agriculture sector, and strengthening democracy in Bhutan. EU has been a part of Bhutan’s transition to democracy through the EU Election Observer Mission (EOM) in 2008 and Election Expert Mission (EEM) in 2013.
Lyonchhen also thanked the Commissioner for enhancing EU’s assistance in Bhutan by committing Euro 42 million in grant under a Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) recently.
Commissioner Piebalgs said that the collaboration between Bhutan and the EU is expanding and that he was greatly impressed to witness Bhutan’s successes and accomplishments. He stated that EU is committed to supporting Bhutan in all its future endeavors.
Notwithstanding the challenges faced by the country to this day, Lyonchhen and Commissioner Piebalgs discussed ways of coming up with more diverse and innovative measures toward addressing economic difficulties such as the growing trade imbalance, increasing debt, inflation, unemployment, arising climate change issues and food insecurity among others. Commissioner Piebalgs stated that Bhutan and EU must understand the context in depth and reflect on these issues together.
Lyonchhen congratulated Commissioner Piebalgs on a very successful tenure as the EU Commissioner and said that Bhutan-EU relationship has made substantive progress during his tenure. Lyonchhen wished the EU delegation a pleasant stay in Bhutan.