The European Union’s policy on Burma has not worked to bring about a breakthrough in national reconciliation or political reform, and its sanctions have made no headway either because they lack the support of neighboring countries, especially China.
In October 1996, the European Union framed its bilateral relations with Burma in a “Common Position,” which has been reassessed, and in some cases modified, every six months since then. It has been strengthened and extended several times in view of the military regime’s failure to make significant progress in areas that are of concern to the EU.
Among the measures included in the Common Position are an arms embargo, an export ban on any equipment that might be used for internal repression, a visa ban and a freeze on funds held abroad by regime figures and their families, a prohibition for EU companies to invest in state-owned enterprises as well as the suspension of high-level governmental visits to Burma.
The Common Position was further strengthened in 2007, following the authorities’ violent crackdown on demonstrators, to include a prohibition on EU companies investing in Burma’s logging, mining and gemstone industries as well as a ban on the export of these products to the Union. continue