Friday, 3 December, 2021

Sky is the limit

New EU envoy says, eyeing dynamic relations with Bangladesh

Sky is the limit
Charles Whiteley

The European Union wants to bring greater dynamism in its relations with Bangladesh engaging deeply in every way stating that “sky is the limit” when it comes to cooperation in boosting trade and investment.

“Sky is the limit when we cooperate with…the world is changing very quickly. The European Union is changing. Bangladesh is changing. We’ve to make sure that our relationship reflects that change,” Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley told UNB in an interview.

The Ambassador, who came back to Bangladesh after 12 years of his first posting here, said he wants to see the growing relationship between Bangladesh and the EU “deepened politically” engaging all segments of Bangladesh society, civil society and with robust trading ties.

He said the relationship needs to be characterized in terms of new challenges and exploring opportunities in the digital sphere.

“Bangladesh has such a big batch of young people who are educated and tech savvy. That’s a huge resource for Bangladesh. We want to be with Bangladesh on that journey,” said the envoy.

Wave of Investment

The EU diplomat said they want to see a “wave of investment” in Bangladesh from Europe with a level-playing field in place after addressing the challenges. “We’ll be working together as partners.”  He said there are so many areas where European countries would like to invest in Bangladesh and the two countries are working to address the issues for better business and investment climate in Bangladesh. “There’s a commitment to do that.”

The EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue was initiated in May 2016 with the aim to jointly remove impediments that obstruct EU trade and investment in Bangladesh.

The Ambassador said the Bengal tiger is actually seeking investment and definitely more work needs to be done.

Responding to a question on the EU strategy on the Indo-Pacific region, the Ambassador said the growth is happening in the region and it is a vast area.

“The Indo-Pacific strategy really ties in well with our new priorities to Bangladesh. There’s an opportunity to inject more energy into the Bangladesh-EU relationship,” he said, highlighting the importance of connectivity, green transition, free trade and people to people link.

A joint communiqué on the “EU Strategy” for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific has been adopted recently, saying the European Union is stepping up its strategic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region as the region is increasing in strategic importance for Europe.

The EU thinks the future of the EU and the Indo-Pacific is interlinked. The EU is already the top investor, the leading development cooperation partner and one of the biggest trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ambassador Whiteley said they will be deeply engaging in renewable energy, regional energy and will help the transformation of Bangladesh energy system.