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PM’s Brussels visit ‘significant’ at a ‘crucial time’: Momen

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to Brussels as “extremely significant” which will help take Bangladesh’s ties with the European Union to a new height.

“This is a very significant visit. This is an achievement for us,” he told reporters, noting that the visit is happening at a “crucial moment.”

Asked why it is a crucial time, Momen referred to the upcoming general election of Bangladesh. “We hope the visit will be very successful and fruitful.”

The prime minister will be visiting Brussels from October 24 to 26 at the invitation of European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, reports UNB.

The foreign minister said that the EU will provide Euro 407 million to Bangladesh in the form of concessional loans and grants.

Of this, Euro 350 million will be concessional loans, he said.

Responding to a question, the foreign minister said the EU would send a seven-member team and Bangladesh would not spend money on foreign election observers.

The prime minister will attend the Global Gateway Forum, which will bring together representatives of governments from the European Union and around the world along with the private sector, civil society, leading thinkers, financing institutions, and international organisations. The event will be held in the Belgian capital on October 25, 26.

The prime minister will return home on October 27, said Momen.

The prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with European Commission Vice President and European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.

After this bilateral meeting, a loan agreement worth 350 million Euros on the renewable energy sector will be signed between the Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Department (ERD) and European Investment Bank.

During this visit, the Bangladesh government and European Commission will sign five different grant agreements of 70 million Euros on Bangladesh’s Social sectors.

The PM will deliver her speech at the opening plenary session of the Global Gateway Forum which will be held for the first time.

She will also hold a meeting with European Investment Bank President Dr Werner Hoyer, Momen said.

She will attend a dinner to be hosted by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in honor of the heads of state and government participating in the Global Gateway Forum October 25 evening.

Hasina will also attend a civic reception to be arranged by Bangladeshi expatriates in Belgium on October 26.

She will leave Brussels on Thursday night and arrive in Dhaka on Friday, said Momen who will accompany the premier.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, invited PM Hasina when they met at the G20 Summit recently.