EU extends Rs 26 bln COVID-19 package


ISLAMABAD (DNA) – Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara met with Prime Minister Imran Khan to reiterate the EU’s commitment to support Pakistan during and beyond the Covid-19 crisis. She presented the 24.5 billion PKR Covid19 package that the EU has put together in support to Pakistan. Ambassador Kaminara and the Prime Minister also discussed how Pakistan and the EU can further benefit from a stronger political partnership in light of the political, economic and security developments.

Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said: “A longstanding friend and partner of Pakistan, the European Union stands side by side with Pakistan as the country faces the extraordinary challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU is convinced that the global pandemic requires global solidarity and cooperation. I very much appreciate the constructive discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan and I am looking forward to continued collaboration during and beyond the current crisis.”

The Prime Minister briefed the Ambassador on the government’s vision and action to fight Covid19. Ambassador Kaminara lauded the governments’ efforts, including the scale-up of the Ehsaas programme for the most vulnerable and poor. She pointed out the opportunities of the partnership with the EU as major trade partner and key donor in Pakistan.

The European Union is directing more than € 150 million (26 billion PKR; 163 MUSD) towards the short and medium term response in the emerging health crisis in Pakistan and into strengthening the preparedness of Pakistan’s people for its social and economic impact, with a specific focus on the most vulnerable.

Milko van Gool, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan explained: “The EU and its 27 Member States, as #TeamEurope, are collaborating on a comprehensive response to help Pakistan address the challenges related to Covid19. We are working closely with the Pakistani government and our partners to make sure our assistance intervenes where it is most needed and where it can make the biggest difference to help the Pakistani people in this crisis.”

The package covers a wide range of measures for the short and medium term: Humanitarian support of € 48.9 million:   Projects worth approximately € 11 million have been launched to provide emergency health support for the most vulnerable population across Pakistan. Another € 27.9 million will be released soon to scale-up this assistance. A further € 10 million will help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on Afghan refugees and their host communities in Pakistan.Existing and upcoming development programmes in several sectors and across Pakistan will be partially adjusted to tackle challenges arising from Covid-19. Activities worth approxmately € 56 million will focus on:mass awareness raising among the population to reduce infection risk; strengthening diagnostic capacities; purchasing of protective gear and sanitary materials for the rural poor, for medical officers as well as for law enforcement staff; maintaining a helpline to ensure women’s safety during the crisis; helping people to generate income in order to avoid or address poverty due to the crisis; supporting vulnerable Small and Medium Enterprises (SME);  ensuring education for children; and supporting Covid-19- related policymaking. Payments worth over € 31 million to directly support the government budget are accelerated to provide the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh with the means to fund Covid-19 crisis responses. Civil society organizations across Pakistan are invited through a € 6.65 million call for proposals to address the social and economic impact of the crisis, while particularly involving young people. DNA