What does EU to mean to Nepal?

‘Development partner, the idea of inspiration for regional integration, promoter of peace and partnership of equals,’ said the speakers at Diplomats’ Forum

NL Today

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Kathmandu: What actually European Union stands for Nepal was discussed in the fourth session of Diplomats’ Forum organized by Nepal Institute for Policy Research (NIPoRe).  Speaking during the program, EU ambassador to Nepal and Nepali speakers highlighted EU-Nepal cordial relations and the development assistance provided to Nepal.

Ambassador Nona Deprez highlighted the EU’s support both bilaterally and multilaterally to Nepal in areas of climate change resiliency, biodiversity conservation, and healthcare systems (pandemic preparedness). She asserted that “the EU Nepal partnership is one of the equals”. The ambassador further mentioned that the EU’s goals with the GRID (Green, Resilient, Inclusive Development) are aligned with the sustainable development goals of the government of Nepal. Talking briefly about the history of the EU, the ambassador said that the EU’s goal is to follow and promote effective rule-based international order. She further said that “each country whether small or big should be allowed to choose its own security arrangements”.

According to her, the main goal of the EU is to promote peace across the world. “European Union started as a peace project which is why we received noble peace prize in 2012 for the work that we have done for peace in European continent and while also working for promoting peace, rule of law our shared values of democracy in other continents,” she said.

The ambassador mentioned that regional integration in South Asia would be in the best interests of the countries in this region. “Regional integration for energy market would be in the interest of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and other countries. Lack of regional integration is a missed opportunity for the region,” she said adding that EU’s development policies are in line with Nepal’s development policies.

Sewa Lamsal, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was the chief guest for the Forum, highlighted the cordial relationship the EU and Nepal has enjoyed for nearly 50 years. She mentioned that the EU has been “supporting Nepal’s efforts in achieving sustainable development goals for the people of Nepal through project grants, service contacts and budget support which is mutually agreed on the basis of Nepal’s development priorities and objectives including education, agriculture, energy, net zero emission and local development.”

Delivering the closing remarks, Dr Swarnim Waglé reiterated that smaller nations need multilateral institutions even more and expressed that the EU has been an example to Nepal in terms of cooperation, regional integration, and development.   “For Nepal, on regionalism and economic and political integration, EU is an inspirational idea,” he said.