Thank you Madame Chair,
Thank you Commissioner for your feedback on the situation in Pakistan and the actions taken by the Commission to help the victims. It is very important for both our institutions, namely the Parliament and the Commission to be on the same wavelength and facilitate each others' work - in particular regarding our actions in Pakistan.
The destructive floods in Pakistan represent a humanitarian tragedy of unprecedented scale. Over 17 million people are affected on a territory one and a half times the size of Bulgaria! 10 million are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance. To provide help under such circumstances is extremely challenging, and I am particularly proud that Europe is the leading actor in Pakistan.
I would like to commend the work of Commissioner Georgieva and her team for the effective and rapid response to this catastrophe. Your work, Commissioner, saves lives and sends a strong signal for friendship and solidarity with the Pakistani people. The Commission was the first to react to the disaster and together with the EU member states has already put on the table 230 million euros of assistance and has become the centre of gravity for international help. This contribution is more than half of the UN-identified needs for Pakistan.
Yet, the crisis is far from over and Pakistan now needs a long-term perspective for support. As Commissioner Georgieva rightly pointed out, the current disaster comes at the heel of an ongoing security crisis, and it will become worse before it becomes better. This is why I would like to support the call for continued attention to the flooded areas and our commitment to help the victims of the natural disaster.
Let's be frank, we all know about the troubled situation of Northern Pakistan where extremists group are operating and destabilise neighbouring Afghanistan as well. The double hit Pakistani population and Afghan refugees may become a fertile ground for recruitment by the Taleban. We should not let this happen!
I believe that now is a very crucial moment for Pakistan. And the European Union should be there and extend its fullest support! Let us be clear, it will be difficult, and it will demand sacrifices. But it is in the interest of the Europe, and certainly in the interest of the Pakistani people, to work for a stable and peaceful Pakistan. Now is the time to act, and the European institutions should send one harmonious sign of support and solidarity.
In this light, also as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, once again thank you for your efforts Commissioner Georgieva! The EPP Group and I believe the entire Parliament is on your side!