EU Pushes for Aid, Stability for Pakistan

Posted June 16th, 2011 at 1:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The European Union is refusing to give up on Pakistan despite the country's struggles with terrorism and the slow pace of political and economic reform.

Top EU officials arrived in Islamabad Thursday for a series of high-level meetings and to reaffirm the EU's pledge to boost development aid to Pakistan by 50 percent, to more than $100 million a year. The EU says the aid programs will continue to focus on rural development, education, and stronger governance.

European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs encouraged Pakistani leaders to speed up the pace of needed reforms, saying that is the only way the country will be able to eradicate poverty.

Talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are also expected to focus on education and human rights.

The EU is one of Pakistan's biggest trading partners.

The EU and its member states have given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, including almost $600 million for victims of the 2010 floods.