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15.1.

2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 11 E/227

Evian. The main conclusions of the Round Table noted that political will on all sides is essential in
improving access to medicines. Tiered pricing of medicines was reconfirmed as being crucial and be
pursued in conjunction with other policies, as developed in the Community Programme for Action. The
need for genuine partnerships between developed and developing countries was emphasised in improving
research and development in access to medicines.

(2004/C 11 E/255) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1783/03


by Claude Moraes (PSE) to the Commission

(28 May 2003)

Subject: EU-Bangladesh Cooperation Agreement

What progress has there been in the past year (2002/2003) on the EU-Bangladesh Cooperation
Agreement?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(3 July 2003)

The overriding objective of EU-Bangladesh co-operation has been and continues to be the eradication of
poverty, as set out in Country Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Programme (2003-2005). The
Co-operation Agreement adopted in March 2001 has, however, widened the focus of co-operation by
establishing respect for human rights and democracy as essential elements of the EU-Bangladesh relations.
It has also enlarged the scope for trade and economic co-operation.

Two main priority areas have been identified in the National Indicative Programme to achieve the goals of
the Co-operation Agreement and the Country Strategy Paper: (a) to improve the human development
indicators. (b) To enhance trade capacity and economic development. In 2002/2003 several programmes
from the 2nd and 3rd Country Strategy Paper have been implemented in parallel. The Community
activities during this period provided support in the following areas: secondary education, health, food
security and rural development, human rights, electoral support, economic co-operation and trade related
technical assistance. Primary education and further activities in the field of trade are targeted for support
later in 2003.

While large part of the population have been successfully reached through the different Community
funded programmes, in some sectors there have been major difficulties in achieving the objectives. In the
education and health sector the Community, together with other donor partners, has attempted to move
beyond the project approach towards a true development partnership with the Government of Bangladesh
in shaping and implementing sectoral policies. This has led to difficulties, notably in the health sector,
where the government has shown reduced readiness to advance on reforms required for the success of the
interventions. The discriminate treatment of certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including
some involved in the implementation of EU programmes has also hampered results. To this must be added
the difficult human rights and governance situation which obliges the Commission to monitor closely the
respect of the principles of the Co-operation Agreement by the government.

The Commission’s Delegation in Dhaka has played a key role in monitoring and advocating for the respect
of the basic principles of the EU-Bangladesh relations through constant and constructive dialogue with the
government. Furthermore, the Member of the Commission responsible for External Relations has addressed
his concerns to the government and requested corrective action. The various discussion fora including the
Local Consultative Group in Dhaka, the Bangladesh Development Forum, the Commission-Bangladesh
Joint Committee and four specialised subgroups held over the last two years provided an important
platform for discussion between the Commission and Bangladesh to review progress on issues related to
development, economic co-operation and trade issues. The recently held specialised subgroup on Human
Rights and Governance was the first event of this kind in Asia. A mid-term review of our Country Strategy
and National Indicative Programme is scheduled to be undertaken towards the end of 2003.