The Fifth European Union-Bhutan Biennial Consultations was, for the first time, held in Brussels, Belgium on 29th November 2013. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Mr. Kinga Singye, Director General, Department of Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU delegation was led by H.E. Mr. Viorel Isticioaia Budura, Managing Director for Asia and Pacific, European External Action Service.
The EU-Bhutan cooperation started in 1982. The Bienial Consultations, the last of which was held in Thimphu in December 2010, provides a platform to exchange views on matters of mutual interest, including the Bhutan-EU development cooperation.
The EU’s assistance to Bhutan under the Country Strategy programme 2007-2013 ends this year and therefore, the Biennial Consultations mainly focused on the way forward and discussed EU’s assistance for the next cycle i.e. 2014-2020. In the next phase of bilateral cooperation the EU assistance will be extended in the areas of renewable natural resources and good governance. HRD will be an important component within these two agreed sectors. The two sides also discussed the Royal Government’s proposal to introduce electric vehicles in urban centres in Bhutan.
The EU assured full support to Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan and goal of achieving self-reliance. The EU’s assistance package for the next cycle 2014-2020 is expected to be more than double of the assistance provided in the 2007-2013 cycle which was Euros 14 million.
The Bhutanese delegation also met with Madam Jean Lambert, Chairperson, European Parliament Delegation for countries in South Asia and Mr. Marcus Cornaro, Deputy Director General of Development Cooperation, European Commission.