European Union Accepts Elections Outcome in Bangladesh
The European Union (EU) was initially critical of the Bangladesh elections seeing it as not being free and fair thus there were some concerns of the future trajectory of the relations of the grouping with Dhaka under the Awami League led by Sheikh Hasina.
However European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Rense Teerink has dispelled these doubts and has reached out to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assuring her of full support. This may be due to a realization that there is unlikely to be any change in the near future as the opposition is completely marginalized in the country.
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz, who was accompanying the EU Ambassador was also appreciative of development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Bangladesh has been moving on to become a mid-income country [despite] facing so many challenges with peace, security and stability,” he added as per the Bangladesh Daily Star.
As per the EU note on Bangladesh the grouping is broadly supportive of the Bangladesh government’s reform agenda, and emphasises the need for it to deliver on its promises and ensure compliance with its human rights obligations.
The main areas where the EU helps Bangladesh are economic development, human rights, good governance and the environment. By revenue, over half of Bangladesh’s exports go to the EU. 55.5% in first quarter of 2016, according to Bangladesh Bank. This is due largely to the highly advantageous trade terms granted by the EU (the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) scheme). Bangladesh thus enjoys a significant trade surplus with the EU
Hasina has called for investments by the EU investors in the country with the development agenda of the government to gather momentum in her third tenure successively as the prime minister and the fourth in total the Awami League leader appears to be in full command of the country’s institutions. Thus reconciliation by the EU to the elections outcome which were seen as one sided is not surprising.