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EU to spend up to 300 billion euros to boost sustainable links around world

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Global Gateway Initiative to counter China’s Belt and Road:

The European Commission (EC) and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, yesterday, announced the launch of the Global Gateway, the new European Strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. It, according to the EU, stands for sustainable and trusted connections that work for people and the planet, to tackle the most pressing global challenges, from climate change and protecting the environment, to improving health security and boosting competitiveness and global supply chains. Global Gateway aims to mobilise up to €300 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 to underpin a lasting global recovery, taking into account our partners needs and EU’s own interests.

The EC said on its official website: “Global Gateway is about increasing investments promoting democratic values and high standards, good governance and transparency, equal partnerships, green and clean, secure infrastructures and that catalyse private sector investment.

“Through a Team Europe approach, Global Gateway will bring together the EU, Member States with their financial and development institutions, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and seek to mobilise the private sector in order to leverage investments for a transformational impact. The EU Delegations around the world, working with Team Europe on the ground, will play a key role to identify and coordinate Global Gateway projects in partner countries.

“Global Gateway draws on the new financial tools in the EU multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027. The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)-Global Europe, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) III, as well as Interreg, InvestEU and the EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe; all allow the EU to leverage public and private investments in priority areas, including connectivity. In particular, the European Fund for Sustainable Development+ (EFSD+), the financial arm of NDICI-Global Europe will make available up to €135 billion for guaranteed investments for infrastructure projects between 2021 and 2027 up to €18 billion will be made available in grant funding from the EU budget and European financial and development finance institutions have up to €145 billion in planned investment volumes.

“The EU will offer not only solid financial conditions for partners, bringing grants, favourable loans, and budgetary guarantees to de-risk investments and improve debt sustainability – but also promote the highest environmental, social and strategic management standards. The EU will provide technical assistance to partners to enhance their capacity to prepare credible projects ensuring value for money in infrastructure.

Global Gateway will invest in international stability and cooperation and demonstrate how democratic values offer certainty and fairness for investors, sustainability for partners and long-term benefits for people around the world.

This is Europe’s contribution to narrowing the global investment gap, that requires a concerted effort in line with the June 2021 commitment of the G7 Leaders to launch a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership to meet global infrastructure development needs.

Global Gateway builds on the achievements of the 2018 EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy, the recently concluded Connectivity Partnerships with Japan and India, as well as the Economic and Investment Plans for the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership, and the Southern Neighbourhood. It is fully aligned with the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

Global Gateway projects will be developed and delivered through Team Europe Initiatives. The EU institutions, Member States, and European financial institutions will work together with European businesses as well as governments, civil society and the private sector in partner countries.

Under the overall steer of the President of the Commission, the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, the Commissioners for International Partnerships and Neighbourhood and Enlargement will take forward the implementation of Global Gateway, and promote coordination among all actors.



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Canadian declaration of ‘Tamil genocide’ may influence European parliaments, EU – Maj. Gen. (retd.) Gallage

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‘Counter lies, or face consequences’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Retired Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage says controversial Canadian House of Commons declaration that Tamil genocide took place in Sri Lanka may influence many Western parliaments as well as the EU.

The Gajaba Regiment war veteran said that the recognition of 18th May, the day Sri Lanka defeated terrorism as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day was an affront to Sri Lanka.

The ex-combat officer said that the government owed an explanation without delay. Perhaps, Sri Lanka parliament should remind Canada of deaths of hundreds of native residential school students, who had been literally snatched from their families, the retired officer said, adding that it would be interesting to see whether any political parties, civil society groups or those who issue statements against Sri Lanka at the drop of a hat would question the Canada’s gruesome past. So far unmarked graves of more than 1000 native children have been found on the grounds of such schools run till the mid-1990s, the retired Major General said.

Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree, son of veteran Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree presented the motion on Wednesday (18). “Canada becomes the first national parliament in the world to recognize May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day,” tweeted, Anandasangree, the MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park.

The motion states that “this House acknowledges the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and recognizes May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day”.

The House of Commons unanimously accepted the motion.

Gallage alleged that Sri Lanka lacked political will to counter the campaign against the country. Acknowledging the current political-fiscal -social crisis caused by decades of economic mismanagement, he warned that the Canadian declaration would have disastrous consequences. Would the government care to examine how interested parties could exploit the Canadian condemnation of Sri Lanka? Gallage asked.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion in the third week of May 2009.

Gallage questioned the responsibility on the part of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries for Sri Lanka’s failure to meet the challenge.

Anandasangaree brought forward the motion on the 13th anniversary of the annihilation of the LTTE fighting cadre at Mullivaikkal.

Retired Maj. Gen. said that those who had failed to throw a lifeline to the LTTE as the military brought the war to a rapid conclusion worked overtime for the realization of the Canadian project.

Responding to another query, Gallage said that declaration of May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day should be examined against the backdrop of Sri Lanka co-sponsoring an accountability resolution against itself at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in early Oct. 2015 under the yahapalana regime.

Gallage recalled how Australia denied him a visa during yahapalana administration though there hadn’t been specific war crimes allegations against him. Australia also found fault with Gallage for being in command of the 59 Division from May 7, 2009 to July 20, 2009.

Established in Jan, 2008, the 59 Division, deployed on the eastern flank aka the Weli Oya front, fought under the then Brig. Nandana Udawatte’s command for one year to cross the Anandakulam and Nagacholai forest reserves, which served as natural defences for the LTTE Mullaitivu stronghold.

Maj. Gen. Gallage said that the Parliament should respond to the Canadian House of Commons declaration on Tamil genocide. The former senior officer who was always in the thick of combat reiterated that unless tangible action was taken immediately the Canadian motion would cause irreparable damage. The Tamil Diaspora would exploit their success with Canadian political parties to pressure other countries, Gallage said, the coming Geneva sessions would be quite a challenge.

He urged the current military top brass to make representations to the government as regards the damning unfair Canadian indictment of Sri Lanka. “We should ask Canada to share with us information on the basis its Parliament reached conclusion that genocide took place here. The very basis of their declaration is questionable,” Gallage said, adding that Sri Lanka should officially inform Canada of the Indian intervention that led to the deaths of thousands, both before and after the deployment of the Indian Army (1987-1990), killing of one-time Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE female suicide cadre and the sea borne attempt to assassinate the Maldivian President in 1989. “We should set the record straight. We should use wartime British High Commission cables now in the public domain to counter lies,” the Gajaba Regiment veteran said.

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Some MPs seek hotel accommodation to attend parliament

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday that a group of MPs had requested that they be provided hotel accommodations for them to attend Parliament sittings.

Speaker Abeywardena said that the request had been made due to the prevailing fuel crisis.

The Speaker said that some MPs who travelled from outstations were unable to return home due to the fuel shortage.

“Therefore, they have requested me to book a hotel for them to stay in Colombo to attend Parliament proceedings,” he said.

The Speaker’s clarification came as reports of MPs being provided fuel at a subsidised rate were raised in Parliament yesterday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that fuel had not been given at subsidised rates to any MP.

Many government MPs also lost life possessions as their houses were looted and torched by marauding mobs early last week.

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Elder brother says MR should have known when to quit politics

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SLPP MP and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that his younger brother former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa should have retired from politics after concluding his second term as President.

“Nearly 50 years of his outstanding political achievements and journey have been lost at present,” he said.

“If we become greedy for power and positions then we face such consequences as we see today,” he said.

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