EU, Pakistan committed to strengthen ties: moot told

KARACHI: The Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi, organized a lecture on “Achievements and Challenges for the European Union”. The guest speaker was Mr. Lars-Gunner Wigemark, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan and the Head of EU Delegation in Pakistan. He also inaugurated the plaque in commemoration of two decades of cooperation between the EU and the Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi.

In his speech he outlined three categories of challenges faced by the EU; the security, economic and socio-cultural ones particularly. He emphasized the need to cultivate peace as Europe had a belligerent past. With the inception of the EU, the then ECSC, Europe has managed to keep warfare at bay.

The free movement of people, capital and goods across Europe and the Schengen Visa have played a pivotal role in fostering closer ties among member states. However, EU is concerned with security issues on the margins of Europe, such as the growing turmoil in Syria, the growth of ISIS militancy which has engulfed Iraq. European Union anticipates to cement closer ties with non-EU members as well in order to spread peace and harmony. That is why the aspiring members have to meet the EU criteria of human rights and peace in seeking EU membership.

The economic upheaval is global and not merely attributed to “Euro Zone” or the crisis of euro. When euro was introduced it had a much lesser value then the US dollar, but today it has experienced a devaluation, which is still better off than the past.

The Director, Area Study Centre for Europe, Dr. Uzma Shujaat mentioned that the European Union and Pakistan are committed to strengthen their relationships. Since 2001, EU policy is constructively and strongly engaged with Pakistan to make significant and visible engagement, both in political and economic terms which includes resumption and upgrading of political dialogue, signature of 3rd Generation Co-operation Agreement, as well as development assistance.

She further stated that Pakistan-EU relations are special in a sense that there is a wide range of areas in which the two sides have a convergence. Education and training are a priority for the European Union, not only as part of its drive to equip Europe with a dynamic and competitive economy, but also in order to create an internationally outward-looking Europe, engaging with other cultures. Education, training and culture are an integral part of the cooperation actions between the Union and its international partners.

She concluded by saying that the European Union is not an inward-looking entity. By making its education systems internationally outward looking, by creating a range of cooperation with governments, civil society, organizations, and universities, it has a duty to carry forward the principle that there can be no democracy, social progress, prosperity or peace without educated, well-trained people.

Consul General of Germany Dr. Tilo Klinner, Consul General of Italy Mr. Giulio Iazeolla, Consul General of France Mr. Dall’Orso François and Director Goethe Institut Dr. Manuel Negwer were also present on the occasion.

Dr. Abid Azhar, Dean Faculty of Sciences, representing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Mohammad Qaiser appreciated the Area Study Centre for Europe’s achievements in the field of research and advance learning.

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