The European Union (EU) will continue its support to Bangladesh for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of forcibly displaced Rohingya people to Myanmar, Deputy Managing Director of the EU External Action Service Paola Pampaloni said today.
"The EU would clearly continue to the promise of its political and financial support to Bangladesh for the safe repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar, she told a press conference in Dhaka after the 9th session of the EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission here.
Replying to a question, Pampaloni said it is important for the EU that any repatriation of Rohingyas should be done voluntarily and in a peaceful way.
She said the people and the government of Bangladesh, as well as the international humanitarian community, including NGOs, have collectively provided a comprehensive response to the humanitarian challenge caused by the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh.
The EU Deputy Managing Director reiterated that the EU would continue its political and financial support to the government and the people of Bangladesh in facing the crisis, expressing appreciation for the generous and humane role and action of the country's people and its government in this regard.
Replying to another query, she said it is possible for Bangladesh to avail the GSP plus facility subject to fulfilment of some conditions.
Financial Institution Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam said the meeting discussed a wide range of issues, including governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, economic and trade cooperation, Rohingya issue, preparations of Bangladesh for availing the GSP plus facility, necessary resource mobilisation for implementing the SDGs.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Huq and EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink, among others, attended the meeting.
The meeting discussed the plan for relocation of Rohingya to Bhashan char, said a joint press release. Bangladesh reassured on the voluntary nature of the relocation and engagement with the international community.
During the meeting, both the EU and Bangladesh agreed on the aim to strengthen the economic relationship through increased trade and investment flows, for which it was essential to ensure a predictable and transparent business environment for economic operators.
Bangladesh and the EU concurred that the EU's unilateral, preferential trade scheme -Everything But Arms (EBA) under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences – granted to Bangladesh has made a direct and significant contribution to Bangladesh's economic growth and social and economic development.
The Joint Commission reviewed political developments on both sides and discussed the role of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, including the importance of holding free and fair elections.
Both sides discussed the Digital Security Act (DSA) while Bangladesh committed that no provision of the act will be used in any way that would limit freedom of expression, the press release said.
Both the sides focused on jointly identifying opportunities for supporting investment, including on key environment and climate change resilient infrastructure.
The Joint Commission also discussed the progress on joint commitments in the context of the EU-Bangladesh Standard Operating Procedures for the Identification and Return of Persons without Authorisation to Stay, and agreed to further enhance cooperation in this area.