On 20 June 2016, the European Council (the “Council“) published conclusions on EU strategy with Myanmar/Burma which reaffirm the EU’s strong commitment to support the reform efforts of Myanmar’s government (the “Conclusions“). These follow the adoption of a Joint Communication to the European Parliament and Council on 1 June 2016, and the EU’s most recent renewal of its remaining sanctions against Myanmar/Burma on 21 April 2016.

Council Conclusions on EU strategy with Myanmar/Burma

In the Conclusions, the Council reiterates its support for Myanmar/Burma’s transformative agenda, including through the joint programming of EU and Member States’ development cooperation. The Council also states that a review of EU bilateral development cooperation will be undertaken, possibly in 2017, once a new national comprehensive development plan becomes available.

For further detail, please see the full text of the Conclusions here.

Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “Elements for an EU strategy vis-à-vis Myanmar/Burma: a special partnership for democracy, peace and prosperity”

The publication of the Conclusions comes after the adoption by the EU Commission of a Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “Elements for an EU strategy vis-à-vis Myanmar/Burma: a special partnership for democracy, peace and prosperity” (the “Joint Communication“) on 1 June 2016.

The Joint Communication envisages intensified EU engagement with Myanmar in its transition process, including by stimulating European business interest through the conclusion of an Investment Protection Agreement, while also promoting corporate social responsibility and responsible investment.

For further details, please see the full text of the Joint Communication here.

Extension of EU sanctions against Myanmar/Burma

The Conclusions also follow the EU’s most recent renewal of its remaining sanctions against Myanmar/Burma until 30 April 2017 by Decision (CFSP) 2016/627 (amending Decision 2013/184/CFSP), dated 21 April 2016. The remaining restrictive measures comprise an arms embargo on providing Myanmar/Burma with arms and goods that might be used for internal repression, and prohibit the provision of related technical assistance and financial assistance.

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The Conclusions also follow amendments by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC“) to the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (“BSR“), 31 C.F.R. Part 537 and to its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List“) in May 2016. For further details on these U.S. developments, please see our previous blog post “U.S. Government Eases Sanctions Targeting Burma and Amends SDN List.