Schulz on the meeting with U Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House of Burma/Myanmar
Following the meeting with U Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House of Burma/Myanmar (Pyithu Hluttaw), the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated:
"This was the first ever visit of a Burma/Myanmar parliament delegation to the European Parliament, following my personal invitation. It served the triple purpose of increasing mutual confidence, giving recognition to the Burmese leadership for the reforms carried out so far and to discuss the steps ahead in EU-Burma/Myanmar relations.
In particular, I congratulated the Speaker for the way the April by-elections were carried out and encouraged him to continue to work for the achievement of genuine party pluralism and for the reinforcing of civil society and the protection of human rights.
The recent impressive democratic opening of the country gives us much hope and optimism. The EU has honoured these courageous steps by suspending most of its sanctions and opening its office in Rangoon. Significant new EU funding will be available to assist the reform process and help economic and social development. The European Parliament stands ready to assist our partner parliament in Burma/Myanmar in strengthening its capacities, training its staff and building a stronger parliamentary culture.
I commended the announcement of the commuting of all death sentences into life imprisonment and asked for the release of all the remaining political prisoners. We look forward to further progress in the human rights area for the EU to be able to gradually lift all restrictive measures, which will help boost trade and economic development of the country.
I reminded the Speaker of my standing invitation to Aung San Suu Kyi to come to the European Parliament to collect personally her 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. I hope this will become possible in the nearest future."
Note to editors:
European Parliament delegation to South-East Asia:
European Parliament resolution on the situation in Burma/Myanmar of 20 April 2012:
For further information:
Armin MachmerSpokespersonMobile: +32 479 97 11 98
Giacomo FassinaMobile: +32 498 98 33 10