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The Working Group on Development Cooperation under the framework of the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission concluded its 3rd meeting in Brussels on 13th February 2019. The meeting was held in a positive, open and constructive atmosphere. It was co-chaired by Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and -      Mr. Micha Ramakers, Deputy Head of Division (Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia), Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) of the European Commission (EU). Senior officials from the European Union and Sri Lanka also participated in the meeting.

The EU and Sri Lanka have enjoyed diplomatic ties that span for more than 40 years. To date, nearly US $ 262 million of grant assistance from European Union to Sri Lanka has been recorded in ERD. Apart from the above recorded grants, the EU has provided humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka at needy situations i.e. floods, droughts, and landslides.

The total allocation of EU grants to the focal sector "Integrated Rural Development" is EUR 107 million, out of which EUR 60 million has already been committed and EUR 10 million will be committed in 2019 for the Food Safety and Quality Programme while the remaining amount of EUR 37 million is envisaged for the Agriculture sector as a budgetary support.

The total grant allocation for the “Democratic Governance and Reconciliation” sector is EUR 80 million, out of which 62 million has already been committed for the reconciliation, the support to Public Finance Management and the STRIDE programmes. The Annual Action Programme 2019 foresees a further action with an allocation of EUR 18 million to support the Justice Sector.

Sri Lanka and the EU agreed on working continuously for supporting the "Mundeni Aru Basin Development Project" by providing a grant amounting to EUR 10 million from EU’s Multi-annual Regional Indicative Programme for Asia (MRIPA) which is proposed to be implemented and co-financed by the AFD.

The EU briefly informed about the ongoing preparations for the next multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027 at the meeting.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction at the overall performance of the ongoing programmes and projects supported by the EU. An outline of potential areas of cooperation identified by the Government of Sri Lanka was presented at the meeting, while the EU shared information on the main guiding principles and elements for the next Multi-Year Financial Framework from 2021 onwards and the new Cooperation Instrument, Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).

The next WGDC will be held in Colombo in early 2020.


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