The Embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels celebrated Independence and National Day 2022 by organising a grand reception in Brussels on 31st March 2022.
In the elegant event held at Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europe, Ambassador of Bangladesh Mahbub Hassan Saleh welcomed international colleagues and friends from the government, diplomatic corps, business organisations, think tanks, academia, and media of Belgium, and high dignitaries from the EU institutions including several Members of European Parliament (MEPs).
Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman, Director General (Bilateral Affairs) from Belgian Public Federal Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Mr. Gunner Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service (EEAS) from the EU institutions graced the occasion as the Guests of Honour.
In his speech Ambassador Cooreman underlined that Belgium follows the positive economic development in Bangladesh with very keen interest. He added that Bangladesh and Belgium are commemorating the 50 years of their establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022.
In this framework, high levels visits are being organised, and he announced that the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation Ms. Meryame Kitir will visit Bangladesh by the end of April 2022. He emphasised that the two sides will expand cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, health and pharmaceuticals, knowledge transfer through academic arrangements, climate change, and many other potential areas of mutual interest in the coming days.
Mr. Gunner Wiegand highlighted that the EU is aware of the tremendous sacrifices which were made five decades ago to secure the victory and independence of Bangladesh. Describing the development journey of Bangladesh since 1971, he paid tribute to Bangladesh for the enormous strides made by the country in these 51 years.
He added that as a steadfast partner of Bangladesh, a dominant destination for Bangladesh’s export, and a partner for diversifying such exports and investment, green transition, digital transition, the EU sees all the hard work which has gone into the development of Bangladesh and this will also allow Bangladesh to move from the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme to GSP+ (Plus) scheme. Referring to the recent Bangladesh-EU Diplomatic Consultations as ‘very successful’, he further added that ‘‘we had ever richer, ever wider, ever more diverse and ever deeper partnership between the EU and Bangladesh’’.
In his remarks, Ambassador Saleh paid his deepest homage to the Greatest Bengali of All Time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (pictured).
He paid his deep homage to all the martyred members of Bangabandhu’s family, martyrs of the War of Liberation, and four martyred national leaders murdered inside jail. He paid deep respect to all the valiant freedom fighters. He said that the Bengalis paid a heavy price to achieve independence. He added that three million people were killed and more than two hundred thousand women were violated in the Genocide committed by Pakistan during the historic War of Liberation of Bangladesh.
He noted the Bangladesh – EU partnership would complete 50 years in 2023. The nearly five decades-long partnership has truly been a phenomenally transformational journey that began with development cooperation to a robust trade partnership with EU being the destination of half of Bangladesh’s total global exports dominated by readymade garments and apparel. Thanking the EU for being a growing partner and steady supporter of Bangladesh, he added that EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) trade privilege played an extremely important role to continually accelerate our socio economic development journey.
He thankfully acknowledged that Belgium was one of the first countries to recognise Bangladesh in February 1971, underlining that the partnership between Bangladesh and Belgium is growing in the areas like trade and investment, education and research, development cooperation, climate change, Rohingya crisis, and many more.
Highlighting the visionary and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Ambassador Saleh said ‘‘It’s a new Bangladesh – a modern Bangladesh, a knowledge-based society with indomitable spirit and confidence.’’ He said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is realising the dream of ‘Sonar Bangla’ – ‘The Golden Bengal’ of the founding father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He further added that Bangladesh is already in the category of middle income countries and set to become an upper middle income country by 2030 and a developed country by 2041. In this regard, he mentioned some iconic mega projects like the Padma Bridge, the Metro Rail, the Kranaphuli Tunnel and Bangabandhu Satellite. Referring to Bangladesh’s peace-centric and humane foreign policy, Ambassador Saleh said that Bangladesh earns respect from the world and respects other.
The event also showcased promotional videos highlighting the development journey, tourism, and trade & investment opportunities in Bangladesh. The programme began by playing the National Anthem of Belgium, the Anthem of Europe, and the National Anthem of Bangladesh.
Follow EU Today on Social media: