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Team Europe Unveils EUR550 Million Partnership With Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

Eight European partners, together with the Lao government, on Friday launched the Team Europe Strategy for Laos for 2021-2025, aimed at pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals and Laos’ Green Growth Strategy.

The European Union (EU), Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, working together as Team Europe, committed to contribute an estimated EUR550 million in support of a green and inclusive economy, human capital development, and good governance, within the framework of Laos’ 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.

The launch event was attended by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Sthabandith Insisienmay, the European Union Ambassador, Ina Marčiulionytė, European ambassadors and heads of missions from France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as representatives from line ministries, development partners and other stakeholders.

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Following a broad consultation process, the European partners agreed to focus the Team Europe Strategy 2021-2025 for Laos on six main cooperation sectors: agriculture and rural development; natural resources and environment; private sector development, trade and tourism; education, including technical vocational education and training; health; and good governance.

The strategy emphasises the importance of the Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals) and Laos’ Green Growth Strategy.

Team Europe aims to contribute to this through a specific “Green Initiative” focused on sustainable agriculture value chains and forestry. European partners stressed their willingness to strengthen their trade, economic and investment partnership with Laos, especially focusing on quality investment, which contributes to inclusive growth and jobs.

These objectives also derive from the EU’s regional agenda, including its new strategic partnership with Asean, and its strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific unveiled in September 2021. “I would like to acknowledge with full appreciation that Team Europe is a strong advocate for development effectiveness and works closely with the Lao government,” Dr Sthabandith said.

“The support from Team Europe is important for the development of Laos, since sustainable development means exchange of skills, technologies and other related policies for the future of Laos.” The deputy minister said the Team Europe Strategy was a significant achievement because it represents a strong commitment to further enhancing harmonisation and alignment with Laos’ development goals and priorities.

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“We want to strengthen our partnership in support of green and inclusive growth, while promoting trade and investment, and consolidating good governance,” said Ambassador Marčiulionytė on behalf of the European partners.

“Joint programming is mutually beneficial because it brings more coherence and effectiveness to our dialogue and cooperation, in line with the principles of the Vientiane Declaration on Aid Effectiveness,” she added.

All seven European ambassadors and heads of missions outlined their commitment to work together on co-financed projects in order to maximise the effectiveness of European partners’ cooperation in Laos.

Team Europe will continue to accompany Laos over the next five years to ensure recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and smooth graduation from Least Developed Country status, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This partnership recognises Laos’ commitment to green and inclusive growth, and the active role that Laos can play in achieving global goals to reduce poverty, promote peace and stability, fight climate change, and protect the planet for future generations.