In today’s extraordinary session of the European Council in Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers discussed possibilities for giving trade concessions to flood-ravaged Pakistan, as well as other further steps by the European Union to alleviate the situation there.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that taking into account the tremendous damage to Pakistan caused by the floods, Estonia feels that there is obviously a need to support Pakistani industry with greater access to the EU market. “Intensifying trade ties between the European Union and Pakistan will speed up Pakistan’s economic development and support the nation’s stability,” Paet added.
Paet said that Estonia supports intensifying relations between the EU and Pakistan as well as increasing the EU’s role in helping to develop a stable Pakistan. Pakistan’s greatest interest in relations with the EU is receiving favourable conditions for its exports.
The humanitarian situation in Pakistan has not improved in the interim. Access to the crisis areas is still poor, getting aid to people is difficult, and the security of aid workers is not guaranteed. “A build-up of tension within the country must be avoided to ensure safe access to those in need,” Paet noted.
The Estonian foreign minister said that the complicated security situation in Pakistan is closely tied to developments in Afghanistan and in the region more broadly. “Among other things, the European Union’s activities must be geared towards developing co-operation among Pakistan and the other countries in the region to fight organised crime and the drug trade and hinder the movement of terrorists across borders,” he stated.
Estonia is also supporting the UN’s activities in Pakistan by sending its experts within the framework of the International Humanitarian Partnership network to erect and manage a UN aid workers’ camp. Estonia also donated one million kroons to the activities of the World Food Programme in Pakistan.
Helen Ennok, Press spokesperson to the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
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