Islamabad, 15 November 2019 (GNP): The 10th session of the European Union-Pakistan Joint Commission (JC) was held in Brussels on 15 November 2019. The plenary of the JC was preceded by sub-group meetings on trade; development cooperation; and democracy, governance, rule of law and human rights on 13-14 November 2019.
The two sides appreciated the signing of the EU–Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) in June 2019 and expressed commitment for its early and full 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 JC provided an opportunity to exchange views on all main areas of cooperation between the EU and Pakistan.
In the area of trade, implementation of GSP Plus, issues hampering trade and investment, and improving the business climate remained the focus of discussions. On development cooperation, the parties appreciated the encouraging progress of ongoing activities and exchanged views and priorities concerning cooperation beyond 2020. During the discussions in the sub group on democracy, governance, rule of law and human rights, the two sides reaffirmed their strong support for democratic institutions, rule of law, good governance, the promotion and protection of human rights, labour rights, and, fundamental freedoms. Both sides emphasized the importance of the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan by Pakistan. The Pakistan side appreciated the EU’s offer of technical assistance in this regard.
Pakistan briefed the EU side on the recent developments in the region and highlighted its concerns regarding the human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir.
The parties discussed the different aspects of migration management, stressed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the EU–Pakistan Readmission Agreement (EURA), and underlined that the Re-admission Case Management System (RCMS) is of high importance in this regard.
The EU recognized the challenges faced by Pakistan in handling the most protracted refugee situation. The EU assured 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 increasing attention to the humanitarian response to natural disasters.
The Joint Commission was co-chaired on the EU side by Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and on the Pakistan side by Mr. Noor Ahmed, Secretary of Economic Affairs Division (EAD). Representatives of the European Commission (EC), observers from EU Member States, as well as from Pakistan Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, EAD and Human Rights participated in the meeting.
The next session of the Joint Commission will be held in Islamabad in 2020.
The two parties undertook to hold the next political dialogue in Islamabad that would contribute towards the EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue at High Representative/ Foreign Minister level at mutually agreed dates in Brussels. (GNP)