Amid growing concern over illegal migration to Europe, a high-powered delegation from the European Union has arrived in Bangladesh on a three-day visit.
Led by Christian Leffler, deputy secretary general for global issues of the European External Action Service, the team landed at Dhaka airport this morning.
The delegation would discuss with high government officials on easing uncontrolled mass movement of people into Europe.
Though the talks with ministers and high officials as well as stakeholders will dominate the migration issue, other vital issues like foreign policy, labour, human rights, politics, freedom of expression, governance, democracy, trade and economic cooperation will also come up for discussion.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told The Daily Star that the EU delegation is coming to Bangladesh to hold “EU-Bangladesh Migration Dialogue” with the foreign secretary.
Foreign ministry officials said the senior level delegation will hold talks with the high government officials on a number of issues, mainly related to migration.
Diplomatic sources said the delegation will hold a meeting with Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam at 2:00pm today.
The delegation will also meet the foreign secretary tomorrow. It will also hold a meeting at the home ministry.
According to the EU, amidst the millions of Syrian and Libyan war refugees seeking asylum in Europe, there are also some Bangladeshis.
The EU also said the migration issue is “a global and multifaceted” challenge that requires cooperation of all its “partners”.
Diplomatic sources said the visit of the EU delegation just after the EU-Turkey deal is important and the delegation might seek cooperation from Bangladesh in curbing illegal migration from Bangladesh and the region.
In February, a European Parliament delegation visited Dhaka and discussed Bangladesh's politics, freedom of expression, labour, and human rights issues with politicians, business leaders, NGOs, and the media.
In November last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the state of freedom of expression in Bangladesh and condemned the increasing attacks by “Islamist extremists” on secularist writers, bloggers, religious minorities, and foreign aid workers in Bangladesh.