Colombo, Oct 28 (NIA) – A four member delegation from the European Parliament will visit Sri Lanka on Oct 31 to discuss the groundwork laid for a successful GSP plus application, the EU said in a statement on Friday.
Progress on national reconciliation and ways to empower Sri Lankan women politically and economically will also be discussed, the EU said.
The visiting delegation will be led by Jean Lambert (UK), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Countries of South Asia, and include Sajjad Karim (UK), Thomas Mann (Germany) and Ulrike Müller (Germany).
The delegation will visit Colombo and Trincomalee and Batticaloa, in the east, to meet government, local government, parliamentary and civil society representatives.
During his recent visit to Brussels, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss issues including Sri Lanka’s application for GSP Plus, the role of SAARC, accountability and justice, minority rights and poverty alleviation.
The European Union has nearly doubled its development assistance to Sri Lanka for the years up to 2020 to €210 million (approximately local ruppees 34 billion), financing projects on the nonrecurrence of conflict, as well as trade development and reducing poverty in Sri Lanka’s poorest estate and rural areas.
The EU will also provide support under the government’s Peacebuilding Priority Plan, the EU said.
Sri Lanka has said it hopes to obtain the GSP Plus trade concession from the European Union (EU) by the end of this year following the recent successful discussions held in Brussels.
Sri Lanka lost access to the GSP Plus since 2009 over human rights related issues. The island country’s apparel sector took a severe beating as a result of losing access to the EU GSP Plus trade concessions.
The new government, which took office last year, began talks with the EU to regain the trade concessions and agreed to meet most of the conditions to obtain the facility.