Outgoing EU ambassador Carmen Moreno told Prime Minister Hun Manet that the EU remains committed to working more closely with Cambodia, especially the new government.

Moreno bid farewell to Manet on August 28 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. She has held the position since September 2019, and is departing to take up a new post in Sri Lanka.

According to a statement issued by the Government Spokesperson Unit, during the meeting, Moreno congratulated Manet on his new role as prime minister. She also complimented several of the achievements of the previous government led by former Prime Minister Hun Sen, including the Kingdom’s remarkable success in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and its hosting of the 2022 ASEAN Summit. She told Manet that she would share Cambodia’s successes with Sri Lanka.

“[Manet] thanked Moreno for her efforts to improve the relationship between the EU and Cambodia during her tenure,” said the statement.

He informed her of the policies of the new government, explaining that it will focus on developing the Kingdom’s human resource capacity, health sector reforms at the local level and civil service reforms, as well as maintaining the achievements of the previous government.

Manet also requested that the EU consider supporting and financing Cambodia through the “Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021-2027-Phase 2” to facilitate trade and exports of Cambodian products to EU markets.

The statement added that both sides agreed to promote closer relations and improve cooperation in sectors such as education, human resource development, health, the civil service and the provision of effective public services.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said it was good news that both sides have expressed their willingness to strengthen the cooperation. He holds expectations that the relationship between the two sides will develop under the new government mandate.

“Cambodia has expressed its willingness to solidify its friendship with the EU, based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and non-interference into Cambodia’s internal affairs. There have been some issues between the two sides, due to differing definitions of democracy and human rights, which had become a barrier to the growth of their relationship,” he noted.

He urged both sides to place their mutual interests first, rather than allowing different stances to hinder their good relations.