EU to follow Bangladesh’s polls closely without interfering: envoy

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The European Union (EU) will follow Bangladesh’s next general polls closely without interfering as the country is becoming important global partner due to its economic advancement and geopolitical strategic location.

“We will be following it (election) very closely is not because we want to interfere but the international community is very interested in what happens in Bangladesh,” Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley said on Monday.

He added, it is the main responsibility of Bangladesh people to decide how they want to see in terms of governing their country.

The ambassador was talking at the ‘DCAB Talk’ in the capital as his first media interaction after assuming his new assignment here.

Charles said Bangladesh is a strategic part of this region and becoming a economic power house with increasing global engagement and as a result it drew attentions to all stakes to observe what happens in the next general elation here.

He said the election is not an ‘event’ rather it is a long “process” that long preparation and legislative framework.

Noting that the Bangladesh national polls is still two years away, he said it is the people of Bangladesh to exercise their right to vote and to decide accordingly at the time of election.

During the interaction, Charles talked about different issues including issues related to EU-Bangladesh relationship, human rights, Rohingya crisis, and proposing upcoming GSP Plus scheme.

The EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) gives developing countries a special incentive to pursue sustainable development and good governance.

Eligible countries have to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, the environment and good governance.

The envoy said Bangladesh is already working on to be eligible for get GSP+ facilities to the European market but “It will not be a picnic, for sure”.

The Ambassador said the Bangladesh-EU ties would be deepening in terms of trade, politics, development and even security and defence.

About the Rohingya crisis, the ambassador said they imposed an arms embargo and stopped export of weapons on Myanmar while EU put sanctions on dozens of Myanmar individuals and economic entities.

The Ambassador said they did not suspend humanitarian assistance in Myanmar to support its general people.

Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to France, he said it demonstrates the richness of the relations with Europe.

Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event.