Foreign Policy Blogs

Pakistan / EU Relations – Assistance & Development

Major news outlets did a good job of covering our relations with Pakistan this week with in depth stories on talks as Secretary Clinton and Special Envoy Holbrooke visited. But a story that was relatively under reported involves Islamabad’s interactions with Europe and their Asian allies. Understandably, those relations are secondary to our direct dealings with Pakistan, however certain communications are worthy of note to help better understand Islamabad’s current circumstances and interests:

While Foreign Minister Shah Qureshi in discussions with Secretary Clinton proposed the increased efficiency of allowing Pakistan direct access to drone aircraft’s in the offensive against terrorists in the North, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani approached the EU for “assistance in capacity building for its law enforcement agencies through imparting training and supply of sophisticated weapons systems” in their efforts to “eliminate militancy and terrorism” in his meeting with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Subsequently, interior minister Rehman Malik made progress with the French government. The French are reported to provide Pakistan with specifically, “electronic security equipments” in addition to “sending experts to help training at police academies”. Those security equipments consist of “scanners which would be installed at all the entry and exists points of the capital” for enhanced security in addition to “bullet proof jackets”. Additionally, Daniel Touanneau, the French Ambassador to Pakistan commented positively on Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism.

Despite progress on anti-terror supply issues, the French made clear that no new nuclear plant would be constructed for Pakistan. The French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Anne Marie Idrac explained that without approval from the international community, they would not commission in any foreign country. She reiterated French support of Pakistan’s commitment to democracy and pledged 300 million Euros in aid at the Friends of Pakistan meeting in Tokyo recently. She also cited trade between the two countries increased by six percent. But Pakistan is economically in dire conditions overall and Prime Minister Gilani is more seeking to convince the EU to “support Pakistani negotiations for a free trade agreement” which would allow their exports to gain increased market share in Europe. Specifically, he proposed that the “EU create a new category in GSP arrangements designed to help countries suffering from terrorism”. This would include Pakistan into a well established system allowing them preferential trading arrangements in Europe. The proposal received diplomatic acknowledgement and overall it seems, France is working with Pakistan in their efforts to uproot terrorism.

Similarly, Italy is set to finance ten “development projects worth $100 from the debts that Pakistan” owed them. In addition, 10 million is allocated for the “rehabilitation of displaced persons”. I think this sort of project is worthy of note. Without delving into details, the concept of using past debt to finance large scale development projects that employ everyday Pakistani’s and have a strong potential to create lasting infrastructure and spur trickle down prosperity on some level is valuable. Especially in addition to the EU grants of 150 million Euros in humanitarian assistance most of which I anticipate will go to the recent refugee issue that has caused international concern. In tandem with such assistance, large scale development projects in financial cooperation with international governments could be an effective way spur lasting, progressive change. Because providing needed supplies for counter terrorism in the north, coupled with funding to make sure refugees from that area are not permanently displaced in addition to development and opportunities for future trade are solid starting grounds for building a more socially and politically stable Pakistan.



Zainab Jeewanjee

Zainab Jeewanjee is a graduate of the Denver University's Korbel School of International Service, where she received a Masters of International Relations with a concentration in U.S. Foreign & Security Policy. Her area of focus is U.S. - Pakistan relations and she completed a senior thesis entitled U.S. Foreign Policy to Pakistan: History of of Bilateral Cooperation from Partition Through the Cold War as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. Zainab is also sales director at Silicon Valley based Follow her on Twitter @Zainyjee