By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Ambassador Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan, Mr Jean-Francois Cautain has remarked that the EU-Pakistan Five Year Engagement Plan was a proof of strong ties between the EU and Pakistan.
He was speaking at a programme, organized by the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at the Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi, on September 26.
The President of the ESUP, Aziz Memon, formally introduced the distinguished guest who candidly shared his views with the august gathering present on the occasion.
“We may have several issues such as migration, human trafficking, etc, but we are working with Pakistan to tackle all that. We need to look at legal ways of migration. We also need to fight smugglers together. But after GSP Plus, Pakistan’s exports have gone up by 38 per cent. The EU provides the GSP Plus facility to 10 countries including Pakistan,” Jean-Francois Cautain observed.
“The UK is still there but a change would take place in 2019. The EU was sad to be losing UK but politicians should not be blaming the EU for their own national failures. The EU was not a project of the past that had lost its ambition. The ambition is still very much there. The EU remains the best tool to strengthen sovereignty. With the USA’s collapse of ambition, we work on climate change, human rights, building peace amid hostility, stability of borders and we are still the largest global market, and we will continue to play a key role in trade. We are capable of producing one-quarter of the world’s wealth,” he said, confirming that the EU still comprised of 28 member countries.
“The EU works at building bridges between its nations for lasting peace. But even if you have peace you don’t take it for granted. From Syria in the Middle East to India there are refugees in search of safe harbours. During the last several months a number of countries have approached the EU, seeking cooperation and a sense of direction while the US takes a back seat in such endeavours. We have given 75 billion euros for human assistance,” Jean-Francois Cautain elaborated.
Answering to another question concerning the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, he considered it a tragedy, stating that the issue was close to their heart and they were looking for the solutions.
Jean-Francois Cautain was uncertain how the EU could persuade India to talk with Pakistan to discuss Kashmir.
“We are not sure in what capacity the EU could help in this matter. The issue of Kashmir and the human rights issues there need to be dealt with by Pakistan and India on their own,” he opined.