DPA | January 31st 2007
EU To Spend 200 Million Euros In Pakistan’s Northern Areas
by News Staff
The European Union on Wednesday said it planned to spend up to 200 million euros (about 260 million dollars) over the next four years to develop Pakistan’s poor northern areas, including Baluchistan.
EU funds will be used to strengthen natural resources management, develop local infrastructure and improve livelihoods and employment opportunities in the region.
Money will also be spent on education and human resources development, with special focus on women and girls, according to the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency.
EU aid to Pakistan totalled 125 million euros during the 2002-2006 period, with funds being spent on education, financial sector reforms and trade development.
An additional 98.6 million euros were provided in EU humanitarian relief and reconstruction aid after last year’s devastating earthquake.
The aid announcement came a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz visited EU headquarters for talks on future relations.
EU officials said that Aziz had also brought up Pakistan’s desire to forge a free trade agreement with the 27-nation bloc, along the lines of deals being proposed for India, South Korea and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Aziz also called for more international aid for the development of Pakistan’s northern areas, saying this would help curb extremism in the region.
Islamabad is under pressure from NATO and Afghanistan to crack down harder on the cross-border movement of Taliban insurgents from Pakistan into Afghanistan.