Pakistan has appreciated the European Union’s (EU) offer for technical assistance in the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan.
Following the conclusion of the 10th session of the European Union-Pakistan Joint Commission in Brussels on Friday, both sides highlighted the significance of proper implementation of the FATF action plan in a press release.
The primary focus of the meeting remained on improving the business climate, resolving issues obstructing trade and investment and implementation of ‘GSP-Plus’.
Both Pakistan and the EU appreciated the progress of ongoing activities pertaining to development cooperation and discussed ways to enhance cooperation beyond the ongoing decade.
Prior to the meeting of the joint commission, several meetings of sub-groups on trade, development cooperation, democracy, governance, rule of law and human rights were held on November 13 and 14.
During the meetings, both sides reaffirmed strong support for democratic institutions, rule of law, good governance, the promotion and protection of human rights, labour rights, and fundamental freedoms. Pakistan also briefed the EU on the recent developments in the region and highlighted its concerns regarding human rights and the humanitarian situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir Kashmir (IOK).
The joint commission provided an opportunity to both sides to exchange views on areas of cooperation. The two sides appreciated the signing of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) in June 2019 and expressed commitment for its early and complete implementation including the establishment of a Security Dialogue, working towards a comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility, and further expanding relations in the areas of connectivity, climate change and energy, education and culture, and science and technology.
The parties discussed different aspects of migration management, highlighted the importance of full and effective implementation of the EU-Pakistan Readmission Agreement (EUPRA), underlining that the Readmission Case Management System (RCMS) was of high importance in this regard.
EU recognised the challenges faced by Pakistan in handling the most protracted refugee situation, and assured the country of continuation of its cooperation and assistance, working towards durable solutions for Afghan refugees and their host communities in the region, including the promotion of voluntary, safe, and dignified return to Afghanistan.
The two sides also agreed to pay increased attention to the humanitarian response to natural disasters.
The joint commission was co-chaired on the EU side by Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand and on the Pakistan side, by Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed. Representatives of the European Commission, observers from EU member states, as well as from Pakistan ministries of foreign affairs, commerce, economic affairs division and human rights attended the meeting.
The next session of the joint commission will be held in Islamabad in 2020. The two sides undertook to hold the next political dialogue in Islamabad that would contribute towards the EU-Pakistan strategic dialogue at high representative and foreign minister level at mutually agreed dates in Brussels.