Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the European Union (EU) to give Bangladesh the GSP+ facilities to support the country in its development efforts following the LDC graduation in 2026. "I hope that the EU will offer GSP+ to Bangladesh to support our development following our LDC graduation in 2026," she said in a statement at the signing ceremony of a number of agreements at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. The premier and the European Commission Chairman Ursula von der Leyen witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including a 350 million Euro Finance Contract between Bangladesh government and the European Investment Bank (EIB) at the European Commission Headquarters, Brussels, local media reported.
In her statement, she said Bangladesh expressed serious concern over the wars and wanted to work together to establish peace globally. The premier, in her statement, thanked the EU for its humanitarian assistance for the 1.2 million Rohingyas being temporarily sheltered by Bangladesh. She said the solution to the Rohingya crisis lies in their safe and sustainable return to their homeland in Myanmar. "I urge the EU to remain engaged for an early durable solution to the crisis," she added.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-EU partnership. "We are pleased that the EU is now Bangladesh’s largest trading partner," she said.
The PM said that the EU’s Everything-but-Arms scheme contributed immensely to Bangladesh’s socio-economic development, recalling formalizing this arrangement during her first term in office till 2000. "We have renewed our commitment to promote workers’ rights as well as safe and regular migration," she said.
The PM said they just had a frank exchange of views on Bangladesh-EU relations. "We reaffirmed our shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law," she said.
Three loan and grant agreements among Bangladesh, European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Commission (EC) involving €407 million to support renewable energy sector in Bangladesh signed in Brussels following bilateral talks between Bangladesh Prime Minister and EC President Ursula von der Leyen. Bangladesh PM, European Commission President and EIB President Werner Hoyer witnessed the signing ceremony.
In her statement, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said two investment packages were signed. The first one is a Renewable Energy Package €400 million to boost the green transition in Bangladesh, she said.
The second investment package is our Annual Action Plan for 2023 which is an investment roadmap of €70 million in your public administration, and in employment, in skills and education, and green construction. "So, this new chapter in our partnership is starting off really well," she said.
The EC President they first are re-launching negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. And that is great news. "Second, this new chapter in our relationship will be underpinned by new investments under Global Gateway – we just discussed it," she continued.
In 50 years of relationship of Bangladesh and European Union, she said: We have built a solid partnership. And now we will take it to the next level. Because in a time of global turbulence, the European Union is glad to be able to count on its long-standing partners, as they can count on us."
The first agreement was signed between Bangladesh and the EIB for an EU-guaranteed framework loan of up to €350 million for the operation of “Bangladesh Renewable Energy Facility” to support climate action investments in Bangladesh.
The second one was signed between the EIB and the EC of an EU blending grant of €45 million, composed of €6 million of technical assistance to ensure that all sub-projects comply with international market practices and EIB’s environmental and social standards, and of €39 million of investment grant to bring in concessional lending tools to support the first renewable energy utility scales projects in Bangladesh.
The third agreement was between Bangladesh and the European Commission for the accompanying “Partnership for Green Energy Transition” project of €12 million, co-financed by Germany, which aims to work on policy, legal framework and investment climate to facilitate an inclusive green energy transition.
Secretary of Economic Relations Division Sharifa Khan, Deputy Managing Director Markus Berndt of the EIB (GLO) and Director General of International Partnerships of the EC Koen Doens signed the agreements.