H.E. Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan, made an official visit to the European Union in Brussels and Luxembourg from 16 – 22 March 2023.
In Brussels, Lyonchhen met with Mr. Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships and Mr. Janez Lenarcic, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
At the European Parliament, Lyonchhen met Mr. David McAllister, Chair of the European Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs, as well as the members of the Committee. Lyonchhen also met Mr. Nicola Procaccini, Chair and members of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the countries of South Asia.
Lyonchhen also met Mr. Kris Peeters, Vice President of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg.
During the meetings, Lyonchhen expressed the Royal Government’s appreciation to the EU for the support provided to Bhutan through their Multi-annual Indicative Programme and other thematic windows, as well as for the timely supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Bhutan during the pandemic. The two sides also discussed the importance of strengthening relations and exploring further opportunities for cooperation including through financing and technical assistance in hydro and solar power energy and vocational education. The EIB and Bhutan agreed to work towards finalizing at least one project within 2023. As a step towards this, the European Commission has given its green signal to the EIB on the project proposals submitted by Bhutan.
The EU has committed Euro 42 million to Bhutan under the current Multiannual Indicative Programme 2021-2027. It has allocated Euro 31 million for the period 2021-2024, of which a financing agreement of Euro 15 million was signed in September 2022 for promoting inclusive, sustainable and resilient agri-food systems in Bhutan.
While in Brussels, Lyonchhen took the opportunity to meet with Bhutanese students and professionals in Belgium and nearby countries.
Lyonchhen also visited some high end ventures and innovation centres for possible future collaboration.