European Commission president calls PM Shehbaz Sharif, agrees to boost ties

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif speaks during a press conference in Islamabad on April 7, 2022 (left) and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission addresses the event “Stand up for Ukraine” in Warsaw, Poland on April 9, 2022. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif agreed to boost ties, a statement from the PM Office said Thursday.

The development came during the European Commission president’s call to the prime minister, where they agreed to bolster ties, intensify investment and trade cooperation, and enhance mutual cooperation in diverse fields.

The European Commission’s president congratulated Shehbaz on assuming the office of the prime minister and underlined the body’s desire to further strengthen its bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

Shehbaz was elected as the 23rd premier of Pakistan on April 11 after the ouster of PTI chairman Imran Khan from the office of the prime minister through a no-confidence vote.

The prime minister expressed his thanks for the felicitations and stated that Pakistan greatly valued its relations with the European Union, which were based on shared values and common objectives of peace, prosperity and development.

PM Shehbaz highlighted the importance of closer trade and investment ties between Pakistan and the EU.

He appreciated the GSP Plus arrangement and underlined that being a mutually beneficial scheme, it had played an important role in the expansion of Pakistan-EU trade.

The premier lauded Leyen’s stewardship of the EU Commission and underscored his resolve to further deepen mutual engagement, while also extending a cordial invitation to the body’s president.

The two leaders agreed to stay in contact and work together to expand Pakistan-EU relations, intensify investment and trade cooperation, and enhance mutual cooperation between the two sides in diverse fields.

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