EU member states celebrate Europe Day in Pakistan

EU member states celebrate Europe Day in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The European Union and EU member states in Pakistan celebrated Europe Day in a unique manner by setting up a 'Eurovillage' here at Lok Virsa Saturday.

It was aimed at increasing awareness of Europe and of European culture and values.

The general public was provided with a memorable experience of Europe as an interesting, culturally rich and friendly place.

The EU's as well as the Member States' stands showcased their countries' culture and traditions, language, their relationship with Pakistan and general information about their country.

The premises of Lok Virsa were transformed into a veritable carnival with food stalls and information and activity booths for adults and children including quizzes, selfie walls and giant cut outs of famous landmarks of Europe.

The evening ended with live performances of the two European bands "Live Strings" and "Wild ManGoes" and the Pakistani artist Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch (QB).

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Jean-François Cautain pointed that the year of the 60th Anniversary of the EU Treaty of Rome was also the first year that the EU was organising a Eurovillage with participation from the Member States to remind everyone of the EU's cultural richness while also underlining our unity.

The Ambassador affirmed that "the European Union is, and will continue to be, a strong, cooperative and reliable power. We stand for multilateralism, for human rights, and for international cooperation. We work at home and abroad to promote sustainable development, inclusive societies, and the fight against inequality of any type. If solidarity is part of our DNA, it is also a smart investment in our own security and prosperity".

It may not be put of place to mention that the partnership between the European Union and Pakistan has progressed since 1962 in tandem with the European integration process.

In order to further strengthen, EU-Pakistan relations, the two sides in 2012 adopted a 5-Year Engagement Plan with the common goal of building a strategic partnership for peace and development rooted in shared values, principles and commitments.

The Engagement Plan aims at facilitating cooperation on a wide range of issues, including democracy, human rights, rule of law, socio-economic cooperation, energy, counter terrorism and migration.

In order to implement the plan a wide range of political dialogues are carried out at all levels from ad-hoc summits between the heads of state and government to sectoral dialogues at technical level between experts in different fields.

Today, the EU and Pakistan are not only partners in trade and GSP+ but also important political and development partners. The EU is a strong supporter of Pakistan's democratic development, illustrated by successive election observation missions and technical assistance provided to Pakistan's parliament and to the Election Commission of Pakistan to advance electoral reforms.

The EU is also committed to cooperate with Pakistan in its fight against the shared burden of terrorism and extremism.

At the same time, the EU supports Pakistan's efforts to improve its human rights record, in particular in areas such as access to justice, freedom of religion or belief and the rights of women and girls, and provide education and economic opportunities for all Pakistanis.

Migration is another area of cooperation, where the two sides have concluded a readmission agreement, ensuring the return of irregular migrants.

The EU also fully recognises Pakistan's vital role in promoting peace and stability in the South Asian region and beyond, supporting the Government's declared goals of improving relations with its neighbours.

The EU-Pakistan 5-year engagement plan will come to an end in 2017 and the two sides have initiated discussions about a new framework for cooperation that can guide relations for the future aiming at further strengthening the already strong ties between the peoples of the EU and of Pakistan. (APP)