The first meeting of the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Cooperation is looking at new opportunities for assistance

The European Union in close consultation with the Sri Lankan Government is currently in the process of revising its development strategy for Sri Lanka, a top official of the European Commission announced last week. Commenting in a joint press release issued following the meeting of the Working Group on Cooperation between the European Union and Sri Lanka held in Colombo, Head of Unit for South Asia and South East Asia – Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, Jorge de la Caballeria said the new country strategy will also support the Government’s plans for Reconciliation and Governance besides a continuing focus on Integrated Rural Development.

“We hope that the new priorities will assist the Government in the implementation of the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, encompassing the areas of accountability and transitional justice, resettlement and durable solutions, governance and reconciliation,” Caballeria said following the meeting which was co-chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs of Sri Lanka, M.I.M Rafeek.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed new opportunities for assistance. In line with the priorities of the Government of Sri Lanka, it was agreed that the focus of EU’s development strategy for Sri Lanka up until 2020 would be expanded.

Accordingly, the EU will continue to support Integrated Rural Development in Sri Lanka in order to foster inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, while reducing poverty and addressing global issues such as climate change. The EU will also assist Sri Lanka in the field of Reconciliation and Democratic Governance to support the Government in addressing the root causes of the conflict, promote lasting reconciliation and democratic, accountable governance.

Both parties agreed on a series of actions for follow-up. The Working Group will report its conclusions to the EU-Sri Lanka Join Commission planned to be held in Brussels in early July. The next meeting of the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Cooperation will take place in Brussels within twelve months.