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EU Strengthening Action in Pakistan, Afghanistan

With a plan for consolidated and strengthened action, the European Union stands ready to take on the complex challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Concerted support from the international community is needed now more than ever.

“With a new government soon to take office in Kabul, and a deteriorating security situation in the region, the adoption of the EU action plan comes at a critical time”, said EU Council President, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt.

“We need to step up our efforts to achieve our goal of the Afghan authorities taking over more responsibilities. To underpin the new compact we aim for with the new Afghan government, I will propose to substantially increase the annual amount of Commission assistance for the next financial perspective 2011 – 2013”, added EU Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, welcomed the plan's adoption: “The need to support Afghanistan and Pakistan is more urgent than ever. With this action plan, the EU is boosting its engagement under a coherent policy towards the region as a whole. It is leading the international community in showing Afghanistan and Pakistan that they do not stand alone.”

The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and poses a great challenge to the international community. Progress on political reform, governance and state-building is too slow. The weakness of local governments is an obstacle to development. The new government will have an opportunity to frame a new agenda and a contract with the Afghan people. The European Union stands ready to assist in meeting these challenges. The EU will focus its efforts on supporting economic growth as well as strengthening state capacity to promote good governance, human rights and efficient public administration at all levels of government. The international community should increasingly assume a supportive role.

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The European Union wants to see a stable and democratic Pakistan. For Pakistan, the action plan is a comprehensive agenda for a strengthened strategic relationship, building on what was agreed at the EU–Pakistan Summit on 17 June 2009. The European Union will support the Malakand Development Strategy and cooperate on security sector reform, rule of law, democracy and human rights, socio-economic development and progress on trade. A second Summit is intended to take place in the first half of 2010, with the aim of reviewing and advancing progress on the EU–Pakistan agenda.

The plan for EU action in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a step change in the Union’s engagement with the region. Building on the EU’s extensive efforts, it provides a comprehensive review of needs, guidance for further efforts and a basis for dialogue with the countries concerned.

The Council has requested the development of a more detailed implementation scheme, including budgetary consequences, to be adopted during 2009. The Council will review implementation of the action plan on a regular basis.


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