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Europe Day 2020

On the occasion of Europe Day, the ambassador of the European Union and the ambassadors of EU member states present in Pakistan wish to invite all Pakistani citizens to celebrate the power of international cooperation and multilateralism to defeat common challenges.

In Europe, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration that paved the way for our long-lasting peace and solidarity project. Today, when the EU and Pakistan, like most regions and nations in the world, are facing the Covid-19 crisis, it is time to show solidarity and common resolve.

The EU has been working collectively, activating macro-economic solidarity mechanisms, and putting together all available resources in getting personal protective equipment supplies, seeing member states transferring patients to other member states’ hospitals when needed, repatriating citizens from all over the world, besides coordinating on a relief fund and doubling up on global solidarity.

In these times of a global pandemic, the EU has not only been looking at how to protect Europeans but also how to help our global partners and particularly developing countries, leading the way to act for humanity’s common good. Team Europe is the tangible expression of the European resolve to express our global solidarity and make all efforts to act as one when helping partners in these turbulent times. In this context, the EU worked closely with others and was instrumental in the successful launch of a global response appeal to fund research for a vaccine which raised 7.4 billion euros in total.

In Pakistan, the EU welcomed the government of Pakistan's Preparedness and Response Plan and offered immediate relief while programming interventions to support Covid-19 related actions, on top of individual member states’ own actions and pledges to look at debt relief. We are also announcing considerable funds to address the socio-economic aspects of the pandemic. From the EU budget alone, Rs 26 billion were announced and bilateral aid will complement this.

The EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan provides further avenues for strengthening our cooperation in all spheres, including in terms of poverty alleviation, human rights, trade and economic cooperation, as well as research which are only a few of the dimensions relevant to our common objective to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. It is clear the only way out of it is acting together. Humanity needs multilateralism and now this is more obvious than ever.

In normal circumstances, Europe Day would be a reason for us to host a big popular event together with our Pakistani friends. This year instead, we decided to devote the funds that were available for this event to raise the awareness of children on what they have to do to protect themselves against Covid-19 as well as raise awareness with a special focus on women, acknowledging that, like in Europe, gender-based violence in the context of lockdowns needs to be addressed.

This article was written by ambassadors: Androulla Kaminara (EU), Nicolaus Keller (Austria), Ingrid Johansson (Sweden), Bernhard Schlagheck (Germany), Nicolae Goia (Romania), Marc Barety (France), Philippe Bronchain (Belgium), Istvan Szabo (Hungary), Georgios Drakopoulos (Greece), Piotr Opalinski (Poland), Manuel Duran Gimenez-Rico (Spain), Wouter Plomp (Netherlands), Aleksander Borisov Parashkevov (Bulgaria), Rolf Hay Pereira Holmboe (Denmark), Tomas Smetanka (Czech Republic), Paulo Neves Pocinho (Portugal), Andreas Ferrarese (Italy).

Published in The News International, 9 May 2020