Despite facing economic recession, the European Union is still the largest development partner of Nepal

Aug. 30, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No.-06 Aug. 30 -2013 (Bhadra 14, 2070)

At a time when the government is expressing its commitment to hold the election on November 19, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal Dr. Alexander Spachis has reaffirmed his support to elections while addressing the opening of the EU-Nepal Symposium on Bilateral Relations and Economic Cooperation.

“The Government is committed to hold the elections on 19 November as per the published schedule,” said Minister for Foreign and Home Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire. “We don’t have any option other than to hold the elections.”

European Union Ambassador to Nepal Dr. Spachis supported the viewpoint of minister Ghimire. Addressing the function, Dr. Spachis reaffirmed the support of the European Union to holding the elections on the scheduled date of 19 November.

“We have extended a wholehearted support for the elections and eagerly hope that the elections will be held as per the Government decided timeline,” Ambassador Dr. Spachis stated. “There will be no gains but only negative impacts if elections are postponed.”

From holding elections to education and social development sector and constitution writing, the European Union’s support forms the lifeline to Nepal’s overall development.

Jointly organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal and the Association of Former Career Ambassadors of Nepal (AFCAN), the one day seminar openly discussed various issues ranging from EU’s cooperation to Nepal, EU investment in Nepal, Nepal-EU Trade, EU-SAARC relations and the role of the European Union in the promotion of democracy, human rights and electoral process.

Moderated by Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, Madhuram Acharya, Purushottam Ojha, professor Madhukar S.J.B Rana and Dr. Shreedhar Khatri, four papers were presented by former ambassador to EU Dr. Durgesh Man Pradhan, former permanent representative to the UN Geneva, Dr.Sambhuram Simkhada, Sanjaya Poudyal, Nepal Investment Board, Binayak Shah, president of European Union and Hernandez Uriz Genoveva, political officer of European Union.

“The European Union has been a friend in need for Nepal ever since the bilateral relation was established in 1973. We really appreciate the continued cooperation received from the EU for our developmental efforts," said the Minister for Foreign and Home Affairs, Madhav Prasad Ghimire.

Although European Union’s support played a key role in making achievements in the social sector, there is criticism as well. “The support given by European Union is very important in Nepal’s overall development,” said Dr. Rabindra Kumar Shakya, vice chairman of National Planning Commission.  Chaired by Kedar Bhakta Shrestha, president of AFCAN, many critical questions were raised regarding the EU cooperation to Nepal.

Former ambassador to Nepal’s Mission in Geneva Dinesh Bhattarai questioned the rational of spending the money in the ethnic lines. Similarly, Chiranjibi Nepal, advisor to Finance Minister, stressed the need to spend money in government’s priority areas.

Ambassador Dr. Spachis replied to the questions raised by various speakers and justified the support given by European Union Delegation to Nepal. He stressed the need to have elected representatives at the local level to make accountable institutions at the grass root level.

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