KATHMANDU, July 4: The European Union (EU) and Nepal held the 10th meeting of their bi-annual joint commission on June 28 in Brussels. The joint commission meeting was co-chaired by Paola Pampaloni, European external action service deputy managing director for Asia and Pacific, and Shanker Das Bairagi, foreign secretary of Nepal. In the meeting, the participants discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest.
The EU congratulated Nepal on the successful holding of local, provincial and federal elections in Nepal in 2017 claiming it to be a major political milestone. The EU informed the Nepali delegation of recent political developments in the EU, including the new Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the field of security and defense, and several other policy initiatives.
Similarly, the Nepali side shared plans and priorities of its government for the forthcoming period. Nepal informed the EU delegation that, with the completion of the elections, the constitution had come into full operation. The Nepali delegation also outlined its strategies of graduation from Least-Developed-Country (LDC) status. Air safety was also on the agenda of the meeting, with both parties aiming to address outstanding safety and security issues. The EU congratulated Nepal on the significant increasing interest and successful application of Nepali students in the Erasmus plus program. This is a trend the EU wants to further encourage.
On the occasion of the joint commission meeting, both parties signed the Financing Agreement for the EU Contribution to Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) in Nepal worth €40 million of which €36 million has been earmarked for budget support and €3.75 million for complementary measures. In addition, under the School Sector Development Program (SSDP), the EU released an amount of €19.094 million under the budget support modality to the treasury of Nepal. This payment constitutes a part of the overall €61.4 million EU support to Nepal's School Sector Development Plan.