The 4th Session of the Pakistan-EU Strategic Dialogue was held in Islamabad on 25 March 2019. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan led the Pakistan side while Ms Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission headed the European Union delegation. The Strategic Dialogue was preceded by the 5th Session of Pakistan-EU Political Dialogue in Brussels on 20 March 2019
The Strategic Dialogue allowed for an open discussion on a wide range of areas of the bilateral cooperation, as well as on regional and global challenges. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening of multilateralism and adherence to the principles and purposes of the UN charter as well as international law.
Pakistan and the EU agreed the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), which signifies the growing momentum of Pakistan-EU relations and sets the direction for enhanced engagement.
The EU side welcomed the priorities of the Pakistani government, focusing on poverty alleviation, investment in human capital, good governance and the rule of law. The Pakistan side invited the EU side to take benefit of the improved security situation as an opportunity to enhance trade and investment, and people to people contact, including tourism.
Both sides expressed a strong political commitment towards the mutually beneficial GSP Plus preferential trade regime provided by the EU and to utilise it to its full potential. The two sides reaffirmed their resolve for the promotion and protection of human rights and shared their perspectives on issues related to freedom of religion or belief and the role of civil society. Pakistan and the EU agreed on the importance of further promoting inter-faith harmony.
The two sides agreed that sustained bilateral discussions on security would contribute to regional stability. The EU side recognised Pakistan’s significant contribution in the fight against terrorism and renewed focus on the implantation of Pakistan’s National Action Plan and in this context reiterated the EU’s continued support. Both sides committed to sustained efforts to fighting terrorism in all its forms. The EU side welcomed Pakistan’s determination to implement the FATF Action Plan and expressed its readiness to provide technical support in this regard.
The Pakistan side apprised the EU side about the recent developments in the region, including the current situation in Kashmir. Noting these developments with concern, the EU side underlined the need for restraint, de-escalation of tensions and resolution of disputes through dialogue and constructive engagement.
In the field of migration, the parties wished to see enhanced progress on the rollout and systemic operationalisation of the Readmission Case Management System (RCMS) for processing readmission applications. In the course of the forthcoming implementation of the Strategic Engagement Plan, both sides will work towards a comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility.
A separate Joint Press Release on Regional Peace and Security was also issued.