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European Union to increase its support to Nepal

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European Union to increase its support to Nepal

Press Release by European Union to increase its support to Nepal and Bhutan

Brussels, 17 October 2014, EU increases development support to Nepal and Bhutan
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, has announced that the EU
development programmes for Nepal and Bhutan will triple in the 2014-2020 period in
comparison with the allocation from the previous years. This commitment shows the EU
has taken note of the efforts both countries have made to fight poverty and implement
constitutional reforms.

Commissioner Piebalgs starts tomorrow a visit to both countries, starting in Nepal. EU
support for this country will amount to €360 million; and it will focus on sectors such as
education, sustainable rural development and strengthening democracy. For Bhutan, the
EU will provide a €42 million package and will aim to strengthening of civil society,
supporting local governance and developing sustainable rural livelihoods by e.g. enhancing
food and nutrition security and generating employment opportunities.

About the challenges in Nepal, he said: “We appreciate the scale of the challenges
involved in improving living standards in Nepal against a background of population growth,
and we want to support the ambitious policy of the national authorities by targeting our
aid on key areas for the population, such as good governance, quality education and
development of more sustainable agriculture.”

The visit will also provide an opportunity for Commissioner Piebalgs and the Nepal
authorities to discuss economic and development issues, the results achieved and the
outlook for future cooperation between the EU and Nepal.

In the course of his visit to Nepal (18 – 21 October), Commissioner Piebalgs will meet
several authorities including President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala,
as well as with Minister of Finance Ram Sharan Mahat, with whom he will sign the
Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020. He will confirm EU’s commitment to helping
the country’s development process and, in particular, express support for reforms to place
the public finances on a sounder footing. The Commissioner will also visit EU funded
programmes in Bhaktapur and in the Banke and Bardia Districts (Mid-Western Region).

As regards Bhutan, where Commissioner Piebalgs will stay from 21 till 26 October, the
Commissioner added: “I welcome the successful democratic transition and the peaceful
elections that took place last year. I am glad to see that the country has managed to
reduce poverty by half. The new assistance will target areas that could work as catalysts
for further development, like the Renewable Natural Resources sector, in line with
Bhutan’s objective to build a carbon neutral economy. I hope that the country will
continue its current reform agenda and we stand ready to support the country to further
engage with civil society in policy-making.”

The visit will provide an opportunity to stimulate further political reforms in Bhutan, by
encouraging the Bhutanese Leadership to empower civil society and to find a balanced
solution for the refugee situation (refugees from Bhutan of ethnic Nepali descent that were
expelled from Bhutan in early 90s).

Officially published in http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/nepal/documents/press_corner/2014.10.17_en.pdf

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