EU, Pakistan to refresh five-year cooperation plan: Envoy

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Salahuddin Haider
THE European Ambassador to Pakistan Jean-Francois Cautain revealed during a speech before the English Speaking Union evening earlier this week, that EU and Pakistan, now reaching the conclusion of their 5-year cooperation plan, will refresh it soon for extended period of another five years. “We are working on it” he said, eulogizing the strong bond between Pakistan and EU, now comprising 28 countries of the continent, taking a legitimate pride that since the restoration of GSP Plus facility to Pakistan by the European Union in 2014, Pakistan’s exports to EU states had risen by 38 percent, which in itself is a matter of considerable satisfaction for both.
The current President of the EUSP Aziz Memon, an eminent businessman, but reputed for philanthropy, in polio vaccination programme specially, was in the chair, and later hosted a sumptuous dinner at his residence for the envoy on a visit to Karachi. He felt happy that the current 5-year plan is reaching a successful cooperation, and the new agreement for similar period will be far more beneficial for Pakistan, both keen to strengthening their bonds in economic and other fields.
Both are happy and keen with their cooperation, Francois said that EU stood for promotion of human rights, gender equality, minorities protection, which has kept it united and it has kept progressing in its aims and objects despite challenges. In January next year, during review of cooperation, Pakistan will have greater benefits because of duties and tariff freedom in 56 items from Pakistan for exports to Union countries.
He said the challenges before the European Union were not new, have kept coming since 2002, but a strong mechanism of management remained its strength, despite Britain’s decision to quit its membership. The organization was quite capable of strengthening unity in its ranks. It had been assisting developing countries.
The function, held periodically, was attended by quite a large number of people, including consuls general of France, Francois Dollarso, Russian Federation Dr Aleksander Grigorivith Khozin, of Japan, Toshikazu Isomura, the Iranian vice consul general Seyed Ali , former governor Kamal Azfar and many others. Mr Aziz Memon announced that annual meeting of the worldwide EUSP were scheduled in London, and another country, but in 2019 it is being planned in Karachi. The annual dinner of EUSP will be held at Sindh Governor’s House on 14th November.
He said the guest speaker had an illustrious career having worked in Afghanistan, Thailand, and in different positions at organization’s headquarters in Brussels, and now since two years he has been in Islamabad but kept visiting Karachi, which showed his keen interest in Pakistan, its people and issues they face from time to time. The dinner at his residence was memorable for both Aziz and his doctor wife Samina were wonderful hosts, kept looking after guests, focusing on each and every one. French, Swiss and Bangla Desh Consuls Generals were there, apart from eminent businessmen, city elite.