EU Sheds Light on Reforms, Rule Of Law And Sanctions

The European Union says although Zimbabwe remains on a positive trajectory in as far as the rule of law and some reforms are concerned; several steps still need to be taken into consideration before the targeted sanctions can be removed.

There were high hopes that with the coming in of the new government, the Zim-EU relations would get better including the immediate removal of the sanctions imposed on the country.

The President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has also been making frantic efforts to re-engage with the economic powerhouse but they have continuously hit brick walls as political and economic reforms have been sighted as the first step towards the re-engagement processes.

However, EU Ambassador to Zim Timo Olkkonen told 263Chat that the bloc will be watching the political and economic reform developments with a keen interest and the review of sanctions will be based on that.

“The country has gone through difficult times in term of rule of law but it’s on a positive trajectory. It’s evidenced by the fact that we are now cooperating with the government through the civil society organisations in trying to improve the situation especially in terms of access to justice and in terms of aligning the laws to the constitution,” Olkkonen said.

Turning to the sanctions, Olkkonen reiterated that the embargo should not be solely blamed on the economic downturn as they are only targeted.

“I will challenge anyone to come and show us how the restrictive measures have caused the economic hardships in Zimbabwe…the economic consequences of these measures are being vastly exaggerated, at least as regards the EU measures.

“These measures are periodically reviewed and in those revisions then we are looking at what is the situation in the country. I would say the overall trajectory, the political reforms, and the economic reforms when they take place they will clearly have a discussions about what will happen with those restrictive measures but there is not like a checklist of what would happen and it’s a decision that the EU members will ultimately make collectively,” said Olkkonen.

Despite the frosty relations between Zimbabwe and the EU, the western bloc has continued to support other government projects albeit through the civil society organisations.

Last week, the US Government reiterated its calls for Zimbabwe government to stop persecution of opposition political opponents as well fully show commitment to democratic reforms.

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