3142th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting
Brussels, 23 January 2012
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"The Council welcomes the remarkable programme of political reform undertaken by the Government and Parliament in Burma/Myanmar, together with its commitment to economic and social development. These changes are opening up important new prospects for developing the relationship between the European Union and Burma/Myanmar. The EU stands ready to respond accordingly.
The EU considers that the recent release of a substantial number of political prisoners marks a crucial step forward and clearly shows the determination of the Government to continue on the path of reform.
The Council also welcomes the Government’s efforts to seek peace with ethnic groups; the legislation permitting trade union activity, establishing freedom of assembly and loosening censorship of the media; as well as the creation of a Human Rights Commission. These elements are essential steps towards establishing a democratic state under the rule of law.
The Council welcomes the dialogue between President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the changes to the Electoral Law adopted by the Parliament. The Council is pleased by the NLD’s decision to register as a political party and, together with other parties, contest the by-elections on 1 April. The EU attaches particular importance to the free and fair conduct of these elections.