Cardiff, Wales, UK – A comprehensive and authoritative response has been issued by a group of esteemed academics and expatriate Bangladeshis residing in Europe, refuting the claims made in a recent letter addressed to Prof. Dr. Josep Borrell Fontelles , High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Vice-President of the European Commission. This letter, penned by six members of the EU Parliament, expressed concerns about Bangladesh’s internal politics and made unwarranted assertions. The rebuttal, supported by an attached document signed by over 300 prominent individuals, systematically dismantles the inaccuracies presented by the EU parliamentarians.
The letter, sent on 12 June 2023, was signed by Mr. Ivan Štefanec (EPP, Slovak Republic), Ms. Michaela Šojdrová (EPP, Czech Republic), Dr. Andrey Kovatchev (EPP, Bulgaria), Ms. Karen Melchior (Renew, Denmark), Mr. Javier Nart Peñalver (Renew, Spain), and Ms. Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, Finland). These signatories expressed their concerns about the current government of Bangladesh, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and voiced support for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), urging the release of its chief, Begum Khaleda Zia. However, upon a meticulous analysis of the letter’s contents, it becomes apparent that the allegations put forth are based on falsehoods and fabrications.
The document, prepared by a group of Bangladeshi expatriates and European citizens, methodically rebuts each claim made by the EU parliament members. It comprehensively addresses issues propagated and promoted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to the European Union to malign the prospering image of Bangladesh and its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The document presents irrefutable facts and evidence to debunk the misguided assertions, thereby dispelling any negative perception of Bangladesh that may have arisen from the EU parliament members’ letter.
Appreciating the longstanding partnership and collaboration between Bangladesh and the European Union, the rebuttal emphasizes the remarkable progress achieved by Bangladesh in various domains, including trade and commerce, education and research, and overall development. Notably, Bangladesh successfully transitioned from lower-middle income status in 2015 and a “low-income” to a “middle-income” country, as recognized by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy in March 2018 . And The incumbent government, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has strived tirelessly to maintain this newfound status. Prime Minister Hasina’s unwavering dedication aims to achieve the official deadline for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category by 2026 , fulfill the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and transform Bangladesh into a “developed and smart” nation by 2041 . Bangladesh has emerged as a global role model for development, overturning the notion of it being a “bottomless basket” and instead becoming an “overflowing bowl” of progress.
Expressing concerns over the proposed visa restrictions and potential withdrawal of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) incentive, the rebuttal argues that such measures are counterproductive and detrimental to both Bangladesh and the pursuit of peace and prosperity. The signees of this letter assert that politicians worldwide should refrain from harboring such thoughts, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strong cooperation between Bangladesh and all European countries.
In a humble request to Prof. Dr. Borrell Fontelles, the signatories of the rebuttal implore him to reconsider the concerns raised in the letter and withdraw its contents. By doing so, they believe that the trust and faith placed in him can be upheld, ensuring continued collaboration and fruitful relations between Bangladesh and the European Union .
The response from these esteemed academics and expatriate Bangladeshis provides an authoritative and meticulously crafted rebuttal, highlighting the inaccuracies in the EU parliament members’ letter and affirming Bangladesh’s commitment to progress, good governance, and democratic values. With this comprehensive response, they aim to set the record straight and foster a deeper understanding of the remarkable achievements and aspirations of Bangladesh as it forges ahead on its path to development.