The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay met with H.E. Mr. Joao Gomes Cravinho, Ambassador of European Union, along with the Polish, Austrian and Irish ambassadors at Dochula on 30th April.
Welcoming the Ambassadors to Bhutan, Lyonchhen commended Ambassador Cravinho for his efforts in organizing the first ever such familiarization visit by a group of EU Ambassadors from New Delhi. Lyonchhen conveyed that the RGoB greatly appreciated the goodwill and understanding by the EU for Bhutan and the tremendous support extended by all EU institutions and the European Parliament.
Lyonchhen stated that sustainable development is important to Bhutan and that there are many initiatives being tested out with that goal in mind. Lyonchhen also stated that Bhutan is far from being self-sufficient and the government aims to become self-reliant by the year 2020. Lyonchhen then thanked the European Union for allowing Bhutan to be eligible for EIB (European Investment Bank).
Lyonchhen went on to tell the ambassadors that the government had begun to give villagers free electricity, as a healthier alternative to firewood use. This provision of free electricity to the villagers benefits both the health of the villagers and the health of the environment.
Speaking more on electricity, Lyonchhen informed the foreign dignitaries that electric cars, such as the Tesla, is very good for Bhutan’s environment and that incorporating and encouraging the use of these electric vehicles in Bhutan sends out a powerful message to the rest of the world. Lyonchhen stated that Bhutan is a poor third world country but is still doing its part in preserving the environment. The European Union ambassador praised Bhutan’s initiative, saying that it is a revolutionary move towards promoting E-vehicles.
On the subject of education in Bhutan, Lyonchhen expressed that poverty is no excuse in deteriorating quality of education. Lyonchhen went on to say that Bhutan presently has an approximate number of about 700 schools, which is where the problem begins as students are always moving from school to school, going from primary school to lower secondary school and so on. Likewise, teachers are not committed to the communities they teach in because they have new batches of children every year. If the number of schools were consolidated, where the schools would begin from primary all the way through to the end, with boarding facilities, then the children would be brought up properly, being given proper meals, clothing and better education.
The EU ambassador thanked Lyonchhen for the hospitality and said that he was looking forward to additional discussions on ideas for the future. Lyonchhen expressed high hopes that this historic visit would pave the way for further strengthening bilateral relations between EU and Bhutan.