March 22, 2021

Burma Campaign UK today described the EU response to the military coup as pathetically weak and ineffective.

Almost two months after the military coup in Burma, the EU today finally announced the action it is taking against the Burmese military in response to the coup and the killing of more than 200 unarmed protesters.

The only action they are taking today is to ban eleven military leaders from taking holidays in EU member states.

European companies will still be allowed to do business with military owned companies, and no action is being taken to prevent European companies paying revenue from gas projects to the military controlled government.

Instead of stopping EU companies doing business with the military, the EU stated: “The EU will continue to review all of its policy options, including additional restrictive measures against economic entities owned or controlled by the military in Myanmar/Burma.” No timeframe for the review was given.

Germany, which opposed EU sanctions against the previous military dictatorship led by General Than Shwe, is once again protecting Burma’s military by opposing targeted EU sanctions against the economic interests of the military.  

“A visa ban is nothing more than a holiday ban and there are no assets in the EU to freeze, so these EU sanctions will have no impact whatsoever,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “EU Foreign Ministers effectively decided today that they will continue to let EU companies work for and with military companies, and let EU companies continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in gas revenues to the military. A holiday ban in response to a military coup is a pathetically weak response by the EU. The EU urgently needs to sanction military companies, stopping them providing finance, goods and services to the military.”

The EU media release is available here.

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