KABUL - Head of the European Union Delegation in Afghanistan and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas together with the ambassadors of EU Member States met on Monday, with the members of the Wolesi Jirga Administrative Board, the heads of parliamentary committees and the Secretary General of the Wolesi Jirga. "The Parliament is an important institution in any democratic system providing the necessary checks and balances for a well functioning representative government. Due to the Parliament's importance the EU and its Member States supported the Parliamentary Elections substantially – both financially and politically," stated Ambassador Usackas.
At the meeting, the EU ambassadors and the Members of Parliament shared views on current political issues that are of mutual concern, namely the resolution to the Kabul Bank issue, which is of great importance for agreeing upon the International Monetary Fund Program. Electoral Reform was another object of discussion. Ambassador Usackas reiterated that the EU stands ready to provide technical advice if needed. Participants at the meeting also touched upon Transition and Transformation, the strategic priorities beyond 2014, the issues of human rights as well as those of Reconciliation & Reintegration.
Head of the EU Delegation and Speaker Ibrahimi agreed that it was a good first meeting and that engagements of this nature should continue. Speaker Ibrahimi further thanked the representatives of the EU for coming to meet with the Wolesi Jirga. In his words, this showed the great support the EU is extending to the people of Afghanistan.
The EU is a union of 27 countries, of which 17 are present in Afghanistan. Its Delegation represents both the political arm and development branch of the EU. Capacity building, police reform, reconciliation and reform are the priorities for the EU and its Member States in 2011. At the same time the EU focuses on rural development, governance and rule of law, health and regional cooperation.
Since 2002, the EU and its member states have spent 8 billion Euros in Afghanistan and this year will spend around 1 billion Euros. Since 2007, the EU has a police training mission – EUPOL – in Afghanistan, which does invaluable work within the rule of law and policing sector. (PR)