ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has yet to avail full benefits of trade opportunities being offered by the European Union, stated Ambassador of European Union Androulla Kaminara in a meeting organised by the chairman and Members of the Board of Pakistan Council of Foreign Relations at the residence of the Secretary General Ahsan Zubairi.
According to Ms. Kaminara, Pak-EU relations go back to several decades and have evolved into strong political and commercial ties. The EU’s relationship with Pakistan goes beyond trade. They are also focused on the reconstruction process in Afghanistan, continuation of dialogue with India, promotion of human rights, democracy, education, health, human development, poverty reduction and evolution of technology. Pakistan is a major development partner of the EU with one of the largest programmes in Asia.
During the 2014-2020 period, the bilateral cooperation program was over €600 million to cooperate on rural development, education and vocational training, good governance, rule of law and human rights. The program has helped millions of Pakistanis step out of poverty vis a vis raising their standard of living.
Ambassador Androulla Kaminara also mentioned the EU scholarship program particularly Erasmus+ for which Pakistanis are the 3rd largest receiver including 50% women. In trade, the EU supports Pakistan’s integration into the world economy and its sustainable economic development by granting it GSP+ trade preferences. The EU also works closely with the Pakistani government and relevant ministries to overcome bottlenecks faced by exporters from the European Union to enhance bilateral trade. The PCFR delegation was led by former ambassador Shahid Ameen who also highlighted Pakistan’s contribution to eliminate terrorism, eradicate extremism, improvement of human rights and shed light on the importance of understanding the relationship between Pakistan and EU policy makers to scale the collaboration to new heights. The meeting ended with the presentation of mementos to her excellency.