Pakistan and EU sign Strategic Engagement Plan in Brussels

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Pakistan and the European Union (EU) have signed the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) in Brussels on Tuesday, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

In a statement, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his pleasure over the signing of Strategic Engagement Plan, and said that Pakistan values its relations with the EU and all its member states.

Qureshi said that the EU is a traditional ally and Pakistan’s major trading and investment partner. He said that our cooperation is based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, mutual understanding and respect.

It is a matter of satisfaction that we have elevated the Pakistan-EU partnership by signing the Strategic Engagement Plan, he said.

The foreign minister appreciated the efforts made by the two sides in finalizing the text of the Strategic Engagement Plan, which provides a solid foundation for future cooperation. It demonstrates a desire on both sides to upgrade and expand relations in line with the emerging new realities, he said.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the SEP is an open-ended and long-term commitment to deepen our cooperation in diverse fields. He said that it is a forward looking and comprehensive framework of strategic cooperation between Pakistan and the EU: in peace and security, trade and investment, migration, sustainable development, energy, education and culture, on mutually agreed basis.

The minister said that in the domain of peace and security, the two sides will cooperate and learn from each other’s best practices; including in cyber security, in combating money laundering and in crisis management.

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The foreign minister said that the plan would open new vistas of cooperation in terms of exchange of knowledge, people-to-people contacts, development projects and good governance. The two sides closely cooperate under the rubric of Pakistan-EU Readmission Agreement.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that we would like to work towards a broader, mutually beneficial and comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility for the benefit of our respective communities.

Under the umbrella of the SEP, Pakistan and the EU would work towards further strengthening and expanding trade and investment ties; by exploring new avenues of cooperation, including public–private partnership, business-to-business dialogue and corporate sector joint ventures.

The foreign minister said that the plan will act as a bridge between Pakistan and the EU member states, for enhancing cooperation in the fields of education, including higher education and technical and vocational training.