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Dhaka Tribune

PM Hasina to leave for Europe in a significant visit Tuesday

  • A partnership cooperation agreement will be signed
  • Will join Global Gateway Forum
Update : 22 Oct 2023, 05:03 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave for Brussels on Tuesday on a significant visit as Bangladesh and the European Union are set to sign a “partnership cooperation agreement”.

“This is an achievement for us. Our relations would go to a new height,” Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen told reporters while briefing about the visit.

Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at a press briefing on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Photo: Dhaka Tribune

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen invited the prime minister to the first-ever Global Gateway Forum to be held on October 25-26.

Apart from attending the forum and bilateral meetings, the prime minister will witness the signing of Є350 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the renewable energy sector of Bangladesh.

Besides, she will witness the signing of several grant agreements.

The European Commission and the EU High Representative in 2021 set out the Global Gateway, a new European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world.

Between 2021 and 2027, Team Europe, meaning EU institutions and EU Member States jointly, will mobilize up to €300 billion of investments for sustainable and high-quality projects, taking into account the needs of partner countries and ensuring lasting benefits for local communities, according to the project paper.

Experts call it a western version of China's BRI as through the Global Gateway, the EU implements projects in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific; and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Global Gateway is the EU’s contribution to narrowing the global investment gap worldwide.

It is in line with the commitment of the G7 leaders from June 2021 to launch a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership to meet global infrastructure development needs.

The Global Gateway is also fully aligned with the UN’s Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement.

According to the EU, the Global Gateway focuses on areas of infrastructure that bring solutions to the various challenges in the current geopolitical context. It is centred around 5 policy drivers: such as digital, climate and energy, transport, health, and education and research.

New height in Bangladesh, EU ties

The prime minister will depart for Brussels on a commercial Bangladesh Biman flight on Tuesday and will reach Brussels in the evening. She will leave Brussels for Dhaka on the night of Thursday.

The foreign minister, information minister, Prime Minister’s adviser for Private Industry and Investment, State minister for Foreign Affairs, and State for Energy and Power will accompany the prime minister.

On Wednesday, the prime minister will first have a bilateral meeting with the Executive Vice President of the European Commission and the European Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, and then the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

In the meeting, the prime minister and the president of the European Commission would announce their plans to take the 50-year partnership to new heights, the foreign minister said.

After this meeting, a loan support agreement of Є350 million will be signed between the Economic Relations Department and the European Investment Bank in the renewable energy sector of Bangladesh.

In addition, two grant agreements will also be signed for renewable energy sector projects. One is Є45 million between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, and the other is Є12 million between the government of Bangladesh and the European Commission.

The deal is expected to pave the way for the bank to invest more in Bangladesh, the foreign minister said.

During this visit, five separate grant agreements of Є70 million will also be signed between the Bangladesh government and the European Commission for the social sector projects.

The prime minister will participate in the Opening Plenary Session of the Global Gateway Forum and deliver a speech.

At the Opening Plenary Session, a handful of leaders representing regions outside the European Union will deliver speeches, the foreign minister said.

President of the European Investment Bank Dr. Werner Hoyer will also meet with the Prime Minister.

In addition, the Commissioner for Crisis Management of the European Commission Janez Lenarčič and European Commission Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen will pay courtesy calls on with the Prime Minister individually.

The prime minister will attend a dinner hosted by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in honor of the Heads of State and Government participating in the Global Gateway Forum.

The next day on Thursday, Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will meet Sheikh Hasina in a bilateral meeting.

Afterward, the prime minister will meet with Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg.

In the afternoon of the same day, the prime minister is expected to attend a civic reception organized by Bangladeshi expatriates living in Belgium.

“We are hopeful that the upcoming visit of the Honorable Prime Minister to Brussels will be very successful and fruitful,” the foreign minister said.

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