Dear Prime Minister Sharif,
Dear Secretary General Guterres,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to thank Prime Minister Sharif and Secretary General Antonio Guterres for this timely conference.
2022 was a difficult year for the world. We just overcame the pandemic. And Russia started it brutal invasion against Ukraine.
But on top of this, Pakistan was hit by one of the biggest natural disasters anywhere. Deadly flooding, which affected millions of people. It destroyed livelihoods, crops and infrastructure, and put pressure on the most vulnerable people.
The European Union – together with its Member States – was among the first to react. Our Team Europe response to this tragedy was immediate and substantial. But the scale of the devastation was enormous. Vast surfaces of cropland and villages remained under water for months. Nearly 10 million girls and boys remain in need of immediate support, according to UNICEF. So more support is needed.
And today, we are endorsing an ambitious reconstruction plan. We are joining forces with our partners to help put Pakistan on its path to recovery. Our Team Europe support to the reconstruction of Pakistan is around 500 million euro – including our humanitarian assistance. And the EU and Pakistan have just agreed an 87 million euro package, in line with our Global Gateway strategy.
In parallel, to keep supporting the affected communities, the EU is stepping up its humanitarian assistance, with an additional 10 million euros. This brings Team Europe’s humanitarian support for Pakistan to 172 million euros.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the future of Pakistan is in the hands of its people.
I wish the government of Pakistan every success with the implementation of this ambitious reform plan.
We will continue to assist, including through the Support Group to be created following this conference.
I wish you a very fruitful discussion.