EU mission working on strategic partnership with Pakistan

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The European Union on Friday hinted at entering into a five-year strategic partnership with Pakistan after stating that the current relationship between the two countries had matured and remained stable.

This was expressed by EU’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Jean François Cautain, during a debriefing meeting with the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus review mission currently visiting Pakistan.

The delegation is visiting the country to assess the implementation of 27 UN Conventions covered under the GSP Plus agreement.

The other day, the EU assessment mission in its meeting with commerce minister urged Pakistani authorities to strictly implement laws that protect human rights, including fundamental rights of child and bonded labour.

On a separate note, Cautain said Pakistan and EU’s relationship has entered a mature and stable state. He said he would like to extend the engagement under a five-year strategic plan.

The debriefing meeting was hosted under the umbrella of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC), Cabinet Division and was chaired by Attorney General of Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali.

The debriefing meeting was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Climate Change, Human Rights, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Anti-Narcotics Division.

An official privy to the meeting said that the EU mission hinted at a five-year strategic partnership to further broaden cooperation in areas other than trade and economic relationship.

The official mentioned that under the proposed partnership, grants and other assistance from the EU to Pakistan would also be expanded. “Both sides would work on the plan and would soon be framed into action,” said the officials.

Speaking on the occasion, the Attorney General of Pakistan was of the view that the country takes the GSP Plus programme as an incentive and not as conditionality towards its commitment to protecting life.

The delegation’s representatives debriefed the participants and shared the feedback during a six-day visit to Pakistan. The mission’s representatives were of the view that they had observed an advance level of understanding regarding GSP Plus programme with Pakistan.

“Government officials at both federal and provincial level are well aware of the human rights and labour issues. There is a consensus across the board that the government should strive for improving quality of life,” said a press release quoting the delegation representatives.