Following Sunday's by-election in Myanmar, European Parliament President Martin Schulz made the following statement:
"I am encouraged by the by-election in Myanmar, despite reported irregularities, which I hope will be addressed promptly by the authorities. I am convinced this vote will be deemed as historic. If followed by further reforms, it could be a turning point in Myanmar's history, marking the departure from autocracy to the path of democracy. Myanmar's people and the whole world have waited for this for half a century.
I congratulate the National League for Democracy party and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a landslide victory in the by-election. I would like to repeat my warm invitation to Aung San Suu Kyi to visit the European Parliament to receive, finally, her Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought which she was awarded in 1990.
I urge the Myanmar leadership to continue the reform process. I am certain the European Union will take those reforms into consideration when it reviews the restrictive measures now applied against Myanmar".
The first-ever European Parliament delegation to visit Myanmar handed over, in early March, invitations to Aung San Suu Kyi and to Myanmar Speaker Thura Shwe Mann. MEP Ivo Belet was a member of the EU team observing the elections on the ground.