Moving EU-Pakistan Relations Beyond Words
Despite widespread acknowledgement that a longterm partnership between Pakistan and the European Union is desirable, neither Islamabad nor Brussels has invested enough in engaging one another. Both parties have compelling commercial, security, and diplomatic reasons to deepen and broaden their relations, but, despite a series of summits, each has emerged disappointed with the other’s capacity to deliver, including on trade issues that form the backbone of the relationship.
Although policy coordination remains a challenge, Europe has key assets that it can leverage, including its reputation for supporting civil society groups, development initiatives, and democratic institutions. As Pakistan struggles, the EU can become an important niche player, prioritizing its soft power capacities to help a country in transition modernize and reform its economy, consolidate political institutions, and strengthen the rule of law.