Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague attended the European Council meeting in Brussels. The agenda focused on foreign policy issues and the promotion of international trade.
At the meeting the UK urged EU leaders to back a major new trade partnership between Europe and Pakistan in the wake of the massive floods in the country.
The Prime Minister told the Summit that the scale of the disaster warranted a response far beyond the vital immediate humanitarian effort.
In the Summit conclusions, the European Union agreed to a comprehensive package of short, medium and longer term measures which will help underpin Pakistan’s recovery and future development.
Speaking at the closing press conference, the Prime Minister said:
“I think if you ask people in Pakistan and the leaders of Pakistan what is it that they want, is it aid or is it trade, they say very firmly they want greater market access, they want trade, and I am pleased that the European Union, with a very strong British lead here, has actually endorsed that approach.”
The Foreign Secretary added:
“We both put a lot of effort into Pakistan today, particularly trying to make sure that the measures that will be taken to open up market access to Pakistan to a greater extent into the EU are taken quickly and that there will not be a long process of delay in agreeing those measures of putting them into practice.”
Leaders at the Summit also agreed a free-trade agreement with South Korea which will ensure further free-trade agreements with other countries, including India, in the future.
The European Council also focused on economic governance and relations with the EU’s strategic partners and looked ahead to a number of upcoming events such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) next month.