Bangladesh, EU agree to enhance partnership
The European Union and Bangladesh have opened a "new page of relationship", agreeing in principle to sign the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, as Brussels wants Dhaka by its side amid the new global geopolitical shift following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The EU wants to engage with Bangladesh for the interests of both in the Indo-Pacific region and the UN and other international forums.
Enrique Mora, deputy secretary general for political affairs at EU's European External Action Service (EEAS), said this after the first ever political dialogue held between him and Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at the state guesthouse Padma yesterday.
The priorities of the new agreement will be climate change, cyber and maritime security, defence, connectivity, and the basis of the relations is human rights and democracy, he told reporters.
At present, "Everything But Arms" is the legal basis of the EU-Bangladesh relationship, he said, adding that signing the Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership means a higher level of the tie, which is a recognition of Bangladesh's significant socio-economic growth and its influence in the international arena.
"We really want to work with Bangladesh for security in the Indo-Pacific region. This is an important region. We want to protect our interest in the region as well as Bangladesh's interest," Enrique said.
Shahriar said there was not much difference between the aspirations of Bangladesh and the interests of the EU in the Indo-pacific.
The security elements have to be discussed before the agreement is signed, he said. "If you talk about military cooperation, we don't have that capacity, but we have the capability of peacekeeping operations."
Enrique Mora said, "We are living in a completely different world after Russia's invasion in Ukraine. In this situation, partnership among those who believe in the principles of the UN is very important."
According to a foreign ministry statement, Bangladesh sought the EU's support for continued trade preferences under the EU's new Generalised Scheme of Preferences beyond 2029 in order to make its LDC graduation smooth and sustainable.