Bhutan will graduate from a Least Developed Country to a Lower Middle Income Country in 2023. The development that Bhutan has undergone since embarking on planned socio-economic activities around six decades ago has been significant. As we look ahead to our graduation, we remain thankful for the guidance of our visionary monarchs, the leadership of our government and the support of our many bilateral and multilateral partners.
Bhutan has enjoyed deep engagements bilaterally with many countries in Europe in the past, some of which were our biggest development partners at some point of time. Our engagement with these countries still continues through the European Union (EU). The EU is today one of our most important partners and as an institution serves as a vital link to the EU member states. With our upcoming graduation and the shift in our priorities, we see great opportunities and potential in redefining our partnership with the EU and its member states and in expanding the scope of our cooperation into new areas such as digital technology, education and technical and vocational education and training.
I feel greatly privileged to serve as the Ambassador of Bhutan to the European Union, with concurrent accreditation to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Brussels will strive to further strengthen the relations between Bhutan and our partners in Europe.
In recent years, many Bhutanese have started traveling to Europe for a variety of purposes. This means that there is now an increasing demand for consular services from the Embassy. Apart from that, the number of tourists from Europe to Bhutan has been steadily increasing over the years indicating the importance of having easy access to correct information on Bhutan. In this regard, we hope that our website will serve to be useful and informative, for our citizens as well as our friends in Europe.