Wednesday November 29, 2023

Look west

August 19, 2022

The European Union (EU) is of vital importance to Pakistan as it supports the latter in its many endeavours. Through the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) signed between the EU and Pakistan, the former has committed to invest in strengthening governance structure, disaster management framework and environmental resilience infrastructure in Pakistan’s vulnerable areas. Pakistan is a significant beneficiary of the European GSP+ status, which allows the country to export its products to the European market duty-free. The status is offered for a limited period, and its renewal is contingent on fulfilling certain conditions by a recipient country. One such prerequisite pertains to strengthening the governance framework.

The current GSP+ status is set to expire next year on December 31, 2023. Failure to get the GSP+ status renewed will deal a fatal blow to the country’s fragile economy. The political class should get out of petty politics and focus on improving governance. Besides facilitating easier access to the European markets, stronger institutions will help curb corruption and improve the delivery of services to ordinary citizens. Furthermore, the politicians should hold national interest supreme before echoing political rhetoric publicly. The former PM Imran Khan’s condemnation of the EU and the US in public gatherings has dealt significant damage to bilateral relations with the West.

Asad Aziz