Sri Lanka Hosts Eleventh Inter-Parliamentary Consultations with European Parliament Delegation
On Tuesday, the 31st of October, the eleventh Inter-Parliamentary consultations between Sri Lanka and the delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia of the European Parliament (DSAS) were convened at the Sri Lanka Parliamentary premises.
A diverse delegation, headed by Foreign Affairs Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry PC, engaged in an interactive discussion with the visiting European Union (EU) delegation, led by Heidi Hautala, a Finnish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing the Greens and serving as the Vice-President and Rapporteur for the New GSP Regulation of the European Parliament.
The discussion primarily revolved around matters related to bilateral cooperation with the aim of further strengthening ties between the two legislatures. The Sri Lankan delegation provided an update to the MEPs on the current economic and political developments within the country, including progress in reconciliation and the human rights situation, as well as the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). EU Co-chair Hautala acknowledged the progress in EU-Sri Lanka bilateral relations and discussed topics of significance to the EU, such as climate-friendly regulations within the European Green Deal, the Ukraine conflict, inflation in the European region, and the future of EU integration.
The Sri Lankan delegation also underscored the significance of GSP+ concessions, which offer duty-free access for Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU market, and requested the European Parliament’s support for the continued access to these concessions.
Foreign Affairs State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya and eight Members of Parliament representing various political parties in Sri Lanka, including the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), actively participated in the discussions.
The visiting EU delegation consisted of Zdzislaw Marek Krasnodebski, a Polish MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), Karsten Lucke, a German MEP from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), and Ausra Maldeikiene, a Lithuanian MEP from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats/EPP).
The consultations involved senior officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Commerce Department of Sri Lanka, and officials from the EU delegation in Colombo.