European Commission Press Release (23 June 2006)
Director for Development Aid for Asia says that European Commission assistance will seek to provide immediate relief to conflict affected people Mr. Erich W. Muller, Director for Asia, EuropeAid Cooperation Office (AIDCO) of the European Commission has visited Nepal 21-23 June 2006. The context of Mr. Muller’s mission is a follow-up to the recent visit to Nepal by Mr. Hervé Jouanjean, Deputy Director General of External Relations, European Commission, as well as the visit to Brussels of Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to Brussels and his talks on 15 June 2006 with Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations of the European Commission. The purpose of Mr. Muller’s mission was to assess the needs and identify areas where the European Commission can mobilise assistance quickly in order to provide immediate relief for people who have been seriously affected by the conflict.
The European Commission (EC) notes the encouraging progress made within a short timeframe that has allowed to immediately re-activate EC projects that were put on hold in 2005 e.g. the Renewable Energy Project with a value of 15 M€ (NRS 1397 M) and projects to support trade facilitation and the private sector with a total value of 4 M€ (NRS 373 M).
Last week the EC launched the 2006 Call for Proposals for the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) that will provide important support to the Nepalese civil society. Likewise, the EC is looking forward to the early signature of the Conflict Mitigation Package II that will make 7 M€ (NRS 652 M) operational for activities aiming at strengthening the capacity of key legal institutions and support a process of democratic governance, transparency, accountability, and Rule of Law.
During his mission Mr. Muller has met Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Minister of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, civil society leaders, the EU member states and other members of the international community including the UN and the World Bank. The discussions have included very practical aspects of implementation modalities to ensure that the assistance provided by the European Commission contribute to peace and democracy in Nepal. Mr. Muller has been pleased with the outcome of this mission as it is seen as being very helpful. The EC is committed to helping Nepal reach out to its people with a package of immediate relief.
Upon his return to Brussels, Mr. Muller will convey the messages he received during his mission to Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations, European Commission.
The European Union (EU) is one of the largest donors in the world. Nepal is one of 118 countries where the European Commission (EC) has a Delegation that works in parallel and in close co-ordination with the EU member states.
The current development programmes of the European Commission in Nepal range from bilateral co-operation, NGO and civil society support over conflict mitigation packages, the EIDHR and several Asia- wide programmes to substantial support to UN operations in the field of human rights (OHCHR), refugees (UNHCR, WFP) and reproductive health (EU/UNFPA RHIYA). In addition, the EC Office for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) supports mobile health clinics, special child protection, food interventions and water/sanitation improvements in conflict affected areas. With the signature of Conflict Mitigation Package II, the total activated EC portfolio in Nepal including the humanitarian assistance provided by ECHO amounts to 56 M€ (NRS 5218 M).