ISLAMABAD: European Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala said on Monday that the European Union (EU) sees Pakistan as a “strong” development partner and wants to further deepen this link in various areas.

Heidi Hautala, also a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade and responsible for reviewing the GSP regulations, expressed these views in an interview, according to a press release.

She said her delegation’s current visit came from a mission in South Asia that has worked closely with countries such as Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. She said all countries with SPG Plus status, including Pakistan, should apply for it no later than 2025.

“Candidate countries must meet the conditions to re-enter the regime,” she said, adding that the EU was monitoring “very carefully” the implementation of the GSP Plus regime in Pakistan and that the next mission of surveillance would travel in 2022.

Calling the incumbent government’s Ten Billions Trees Tsunami program “a big step,” she said tackling climate change will affect the very deep structures of economies and societies.

Responding to a question about the 27 conventions that had to be respected under the SPG Plus scheme, she admitted that Pakistan was making progress on issues of women’s rights and gender equality, but there was always concerns about the rights of every person in the country. The EU, she said, wanted to help Pakistan and other GSP Plus countries implement international human rights conventions.

She said new conventions would be added to the current system to encompass other areas that have evolved over the years. In this regard, she referred to the Paris Agreement on climate change and the agreements on good governance and the rights of persons with disabilities, among others. When asked what Pakistan could do to increase its exports to the EU, Heidi Hautala said it would be beneficial for Pakistan to diversify its trade to the bloc. She said Pakistan could focus on higher value-added products besides textiles, adding that her goal in this review was to find ways to help and support Pakistan in creating a better environment. commercial. She said that one of the nice things she observed in Pakistan was the adoption of business and human rights. “This plan calls on companies to abolish child labor practices, as well as forced and bonded labor. This human rights due diligence will end human rights violations in the workplace.

She said legislation would be presented to the European Parliament that would oblige companies operating in the EU to root out human rights abuses in their supply chains and would also benefit workers in Pakistan, by more help the environment. The European Parliament official said the EU was a strong development partner of Pakistan. She said her idea in GSP Review was “to apply the government’s comprehensive approach, that is, to bring together all the tools to eradicate poverty, guarantee the rights of women and girls and the protection of women. human rights”.

Responding to another question, she said the rapid population growth in Pakistan is hampering the provision of education and jobs for young people. She said empowering women could be a solution to this crisis, as it has successfully happened in some African countries. She said she was in favor of gender quotas which were the best possible way to give women more presence in public life.

The EU envoy said that effective legislation regarding gender opportunities needs to be designed and implemented in Pakistan.

Heidi Hautala said that the scope of GSP Plus is very wide and it aims for development and progress in most aspects of society and economy. She said: “We must take action to transform our economies because we are in a global emergency, as evidenced by the recent debates and negotiations on climate change in Glasgow”.

In Europe, she said, huge amounts of energy are consumed compared to developing countries, adding that the EU could help poorer countries introduce environmentally friendly technologies from the start. . She said the EU could also help support alternative energy resources to meet Pakistan’s needs.

“All of our development cooperation with Pakistan should have an environmental protection component,” she said, adding that organic and nature-based solutions must be implemented while practicing agriculture in more to retain conventional methods and best agricultural practices.

On another question regarding the youth explosion in Pakistan, she said the government needs to adopt population control policies as well as create more opportunities for its people.