EU keen to invest in Nepal: Gyawali

Kathmandu, August 1 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today said European countries were interested in investing in Nepal, especially in the sectors of energy, infrastructure and agriculture.

Stating that Europe had been an important partner in Nepal’s development, he said Nepal could attract substantial foreign direct investment from European countries.

Talking to journalists at Tribhuvan International Airport upon his return from a week-long tour to Portugal, Belgium and Luxembourg, Gyawali said the talks especially dwelt on boosting bilateral cooperation, trade and investment and identifying new areas of cooperation.

Gyawali said he also requested the authorities there to expand preferential facilities for Nepali goods. “I also requested them to remove Nepali airlines from the blacklist,” he said.

“Given the fact that Nepal Airlines Corporation has already shifted its fleet to Airbus aircraft, which are produced in Europe, I told them that it was not fair that an aircraft produced in Europe should not be allowed to fly into Europe.”

The European Commission has blacklisted Nepali airlines operators, barring them from flying in 28 nations, over safety issues.

Gyawali said the countries were also interested in knowing about Nepal’s geopolitical location and how the government planned to take forward its economic partnership with China and India and the geopolitical balance together.

“They were also interested in the new government’s economic policies, its concept of inclusive democracy and the new constitution. We conveyed to them the government’s priorities and its approach towards regional balance,” he said.

“In a nutshell, the first official political visit to Europe after the formation of the new government was fruitful.”

During the weeklong visit, Gyawali held delegation-level bilateral meetings with Portuguese Foreign Minister Lisbon Augusto Santos Silva, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, and Luxemburg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Romain Schneider.

He also attended an event organised by European Institute for Asian Studies, a think tank. He held meetings with Nepalese ambassadors and resident representatives to European countries and addressed the Non-Resident Nepalese Association’s European regional gathering.