EU eases restrictive measures against Zimbabwe (17/02/2012)

The Council adopted a Decision today easing EU restrictive measures on Zimbabwe, in recognition of progress made and to encourage further reforms. It pays tribute to the efforts of SADC and the South African Facilitator in accompanying the Zimbabwean Government along that road.

The Council lifted visa bans and asset freezes of one third of the individuals and two third of the entities previously listed, representing the most significant amendment to EU measures on Zimbabwe since they were introduced in 2002. It also notably suspended the visa bans on two members of Zimbabwe's re-engagement team with the EU, i.e. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

At the same time, the Council also decided to extend its restrictions on development assistance for only six months with a view to begin preparing for enhanced cooperation as and when these Measures can be lifted (6146/12).

Despite these restrictions, since the establishment of the Unity Government, the EU has provided close to US$ 1 billion in development assistance to address the needs of the Zimbabwean people, primarily in the provision of health care and education services.

Whilst the Council notes that the overall situation in Zimbabwe has improved, further political reforms in accordance with the commitments in the GPA are necessary for a democratic and peaceful Zimbabwe. The Council remains ready to reconsider the measures at any time in response to concrete progress in the implementation of the GPA and the preparation of credible and peaceful elections.

In parallel, Zimbabwe remains subject to an arms embargo.

See also: Declaration of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union.