Thursday

23rd Sep 2021

EU preparing to lift Burundi sanctions, despite warning

  • The EU used to be Burundi's biggest aid donor (Photo: European Commission)

The EU is preparing to resume budgetary aid to Burundi, despite NGOs' reports of ongoing human rights abuses by the government there.

"The EU and its member states recognise the positive developments made by the Burundian government with respect to human rights, good governance and the rule of law, and commitments taken in its roadmap ... towards further improvements in these areas," an EU spokesperson told this website.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

EU ambassadors on the ground in the East African country had recommended the step and there was already a preliminary agreement by diplomats in the EU Council in Brussels.

"This means that EU financial aid to the Burundi administration and institutions could be resumed, in addition to development cooperation targeting the population ... which have continued since 2016," the EU said.

A related blacklist of four Burundian officials could also be lifted "in the coming months", although talks on that step were at an earlier stage.

The developments come after the EU and Burundi resumed a "political dialogue" in February, which had been on hold for five years following a political crisis after the last elections in 2015.

The past five years saw the country's economy almost collapse, while its rulers turned their back on Europe, which it accused of imperialism.

But the new dialogue "marks an important step towards the possible normalisation ... of relations", the EU spokesperson said.

"The constructive climate that prevailed during this political dialogue augurs well for future discussions" and for "concrete and measurable commitments by the Burundian authorities" for further improving the situation in the country.

The EU used to be the biggest aid donor to the former Belgian colony, paying out some €60m a year before sanctions were imposed.

A coalition of 12 NGOs recently warned in an open letter to EU foreign ministers that it was too soon to roll back the punitive measures, however.

"The EU should not rely on promises of human rights reforms from the Burundian authorities, and insist instead that they meet concrete benchmarks," the NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists, said.

"Dozens of new torture cases have been documented since the 2020 elections", they said, pro-government militias are still meting out violence, while journalists and human rights activists are too scared to do their jobs, they said.

Exclusive

French MEPs lead bogus EU monitoring of Russia vote

At least five MEPs and several minor politicians from EU states, many of them French, have spent the past few days in Russia peddling propaganda that its elections were free and fair.

News in Brief

  1. French ambassador to return to US after Macron-Biden call
  2. Borrell: EU needs armed force independent of US
  3. Polish region does U-turn on gay rights
  4. Johnson makes fun of French anger on submarine deal
  5. Ukraine vows 'tough response' after gun attack on top aide
  6. Poland again delays ruling on primacy of EU law
  7. EU to table emergency proposals on gas-price surge
  8. EU delays first set of anti-greenwashing rules

Opinion

Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Brussels institutions are devoting time not to Israel's illegal settlements and the two-state solution, but to an entirely different, peripheral issue: an EU-funded study of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, published in June by the Georg-Eckert Institute in Germany.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. More French names linked to Russia election-monitoring
  2. Negotiations set for new, tougher, EU ethics body
  3. Lead energy MEP silent on gas meetings before vote
  4. WHO makes major cut in 'safe' air-pollution levels
  5. EU negotiators defend high Covid vaccines prices paid to pharma
  6. The EU's 'backyard' is not in the Indo-Pacific
  7. French MEPs lead bogus EU monitoring of Russia vote
  8. Europeans think new 'Cold War' is here - but not for them

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us