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Parliamentary questions
14 June 2018
E-002082/2018
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

Pakistan is a beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+). GSP+ grants additional trade preferences with the objective to support vulnerable developing countries that decide to assume the responsibilities resulting from the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions, including on human rights. GSP+ beneficiaries are expected to make concrete and sustained efforts to improve the effective implementation of these conventions.

Developments are continuously monitored and biennial reports are submitted on the implementation of GSP+ to the European Parliament and the Council. The last such report was submitted on 19 January 2018. In this respect, the Commission is applying vis-à-vis all GSP+ beneficiaries, including Pakistan, the objectives outlined in the ‘Trade for All’ communication, which notably prioritises the EU's values agenda(1).

The rights of religious minorities and the right to freedom of belief are taken very seriously by the EU in its engagement with Pakistan in the context of GSP+, as well as in other bilateral contacts such as the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission, its Sub-committees on Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance, and on Trade. Furthermore, the EU Delegation in Pakistan carries out important work on the ground.

It follows up on individual cases at political level and organises awareness-raising events on inter-faith harmony. A recent such event was chaired by the Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU(2), during his second visit to Pakistan within half a year.

The Commission funds three programs related to freedom of religion in Pakistan. They support the work of civil society organisations on interfaith harmony and protection of religious minorities, including Christians.

(1)COM(2015) 497 final
(2)https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/special-envoy-jan-figel_en

Last updated: 14 June 2018Legal notice