Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Burma

Delivered in Plenary - 17th April 2012

Mr President

The recent elections in Burma demonstrated the country’s substantial progress towards rejoining the international democratic community following decades of diplomatic isolation as a virtual pariah state. President Thein Sein should be congratulated on the reforms he is presiding over, and we all in this House congratulate and salute the courage of Aung San Suu Kyi, who now is an MP again in her country.

There is, of course, still room for democratic improvements. Allegations of intimidation and bribery at the ballot box in the recent elections should be fully investigated and, as Ana Gomes said, the Burmese military should publicly fully renounce their role in politics.

I fully agree with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who, whilst in Rangoon, recommended that the more restrictive of the current EU sanctions should be lifted. Burma has tremendous potential and should be afforded the assistance of EU investment and political support to achieve all that it is capable of. For once I am cautiously optimistic about this beautiful country.