Islamabad, 2 August 2022 (TDI): Hina Rabbani Khar, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, welcomed Riina Kionka, European Union’s (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan at the Foreign Office on Monday.

The State Minister highlighted the importance of growing relations between the EU and Pakistan under the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP). Both leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas, particularly trade, GSP+, climate change, etc.

Moreover, they discussed the global food crisis due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Riina Kionka, in a tweet, thanked the State Minister for the meeting.

Previous Meetings

On July 25, 2022, The EU Ambassador had her first meeting with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister of Pakistan. They discussed progress on the EU’s Generalised Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme.

Before that, on July 14, 2022, Riina Kionka was welcomed by Sohail Mehmood, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, after her appointment as the EU’s Ambassador to Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary assured that Pakistan deeply valued its relationship with the EU and emphasized commemorating the 60th anniversary of the EU-Pakistan diplomatic ties.

Most recently, on the 30th of July, the Ambassador met with the Minister for Commerce of Pakistan, Syed Naveed Qamar. The two dignitaries discussed the progress of the Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Pakistan.

Pakistan-EU Bilateral Relations

Pakistan and the European Union have maintained diplomatic ties for 60 years. In 2004, they signed a cooperation agreement to promote bilateral cooperation further. The EU is a major trading partner of Pakistan and a major development cooperation provider.

Both the parties maintain good relations in every sector, including trade, investment, etc. In 2013, the EU launched the GSP Plus initiative in Pakistan to promote extensive trade and sustainable development.

GSP+ mutually benefits both the EU and Pakistan’s exports. In 2021, the trade among them increased to 12.2 Billion Euros from 6.9 Billion Euros in 2013.

In addition, EU-Pakistan relations are redefined by the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), signed in 2019. It also covers political and security cooperation besides development assistance.