Apr 06, Colombo: The European Union (EU) will step up its assistance to Sri Lanka, by providing Euro 42 million (approximately Rs. 6.93 billion) for the implementation of two programs to modernize the agriculture sector and strengthen the reconciliation process in the island nation.
Out of the total non-repayable financial aid, Euro 30 million will support to the Modernization of the Agricultural Sector and Euro 12 million will be for Strengthening the Reconciliation Processes.
Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga signed the agreements on behalf of the Government in the presence of Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives for the Delegation of the European Union, Tung Laï Margue.
The Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany and the British Council will also contribute Euro 2.4 million and Euro 100,000 respectively to the program on reconciliation.
The program aimed at Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka is a direct result of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) conclusions on Sri Lanka in October 2015, which envisaged "new opportunities for the EU to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka in making further progress on reconciliation and support priorities of good governance including tackling corruption, promoting respect for human rights and the rule of law".
The program will strengthen the governance of reconciliation processes by seeking institutional consensus across various government entities and civil society, in addition to contributing to strengthening the linkages between the government and the grassroots population.
The program will also facilitate initiatives that link reconciliation and non-recurrence by addressing language barriers and psycho-social needs, as well as using arts and culture to break down barriers between communities.
The EU aims to help modernize the agriculture sector by improving the Government's institutional capacities and by introducing innovative packages and associated market and production infrastructure.