The European Union (EU) is in close consultation with the Sri Lankan Government, currently in the process of revising its development strategy for Sri Lanka, a top official said yesterday.
The Working Group on Cooperation under the framework of the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission concluded its meeting in Colombo yesterday.
The meeting was held in a positive, open and constructive atmosphere. It was co-chaired by Mr. Jorge de la Caballeria, Head of Unit for South Asia and South East Asia – Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission and M.I.M. Rafeek, Secretary of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs of Sri Lanka. Senior officials from the European Union and other ministries of Sri Lanka also participated in the meeting.
In a statement the EU mission in Colombo said the visiting delegation led by Mr. Caballeria also met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva. Last week, the EU provided EUR 200,000 (Rs. 32.8 million) to assist the populations most affected by the recent floods and landslides. The EU has set aside up to EUR 210 million (approx. LKR 34 billion) for Development Cooperation with Sri Lanka up to 2020.
Earlier this year during his visit to Sri Lanka, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr. Neven Mimica, signed two Financing Agreements with the Government of Sri Lanka, one in support of Integrated Rural Development in Uva and Central Provinces (EUR 30 million) and a second providing Trade Related Assistance (EUR 8 million).
The EU is also in the process of exploring the most effective ways to financially support Sri Lanka's national development strategies, including poverty reduction, and promote sound and transparent public finances.
Mr. Caballeria said: "The EU, in close consultation with the Government, is currently in the process of revising its development strategy for Sri Lanka. Besides a continuing focus on Integrated Rural Development, the strategy will also support the Government's plans for Reconciliation and Governance. We hope that the new priorities will assist the Government in the implementation of the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, encompassing the areas of accountability and transitional justice, resettlement and durable solutions, governance and reconciliation".
Mr. Rafeek said "The Government of Sri Lanka appreciates the assistance received from the EU for the development of the country and its citizens and hopes that EU will continue to assist the Government in achieving its medium term target of becoming an upper middle income country." During the meeting the two sides discussed new opportunities for assistance. In line with the priorities of the Government of Sri Lanka, it was agreed that the focus of EU's development strategy.