Since early 2011, Myanmar (Burma) has seen a remarkable departure from decades of authoritarian rule. The Government has committed itself to reforms and some significant steps have been undertaken since, to establish a more open society. The release of a number of political prisoners, the willingness to address ecological and economic concerns voiced by civil society, easing media censorship and the passing of legislation in the field of labour law help to make the promises of reform more credible.
The prime goal of the EU is to help a legitimate, civilian government to pursue the social and economic development of the country, respecting human rights and rebuilding relations with the international community.
The EU’s balanced policy vis-à-vis Myanmar includes significant assistance to the people of the country. The restrictive measures express the EU’s critical views about the limited progress with regard to the respect for human rights. With an inevitably long-term perspective to the political process, the EU pays attention to the development of civil society and to reducing its isolation, and to progressing on the Millennium Development Goals.
The EU uses its dialogue with the Government – bilaterally, in the framework of the ASEM process and of EU-ASEAN meetings – to raise the Union’s concerns and to encourage the Government to continue the process of positive change.