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Brussels, 17 June 2011

Commissioner Piebalgs statement from Islamabad (Pakistan) after the signature of €225 million worth of aid for agriculture, education and governance

Commissioner Piebalgs said:

"Pakistan is the subject of very close attention from the European Union. First of all it's a very huge country and there is very substantial power in this country. Also the human development index is rather low in Pakistan. So, I think the main issue is really fighting the poverty. But the second point regards its location in a very particular region. Pakistan borders Afghanistan. The purpose of our engagement in Afghanistan is, today, to have stability and security. But I don't believe you could address the Afghanistan issue without really also working with Pakistan because these are border regions, and also the political context today between Afghanistan and Pakistan is very important.

The military budget of this country is roughly 24 percent of its overall size. This definitely leaves social sectors with far less.

This is a grant and the €225 million that I announced today for the next three years will go primarily to the areas of education, primary education and quality education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is the most affected province. So I believe that it's right that we also try to work territorially. The second part of the grant goes to the same province and tribal areas for rural development. These are basically agriculture support programmes. And the third, smaller part is for governance: support to the parliament, support for elections, support for public finance management, tax collection."

The statement and video images from the signature available on EbS:

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