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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 11 November 2013

EU-Myanmar Task Force

The first EU-Myanmar Task Force will take place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, 13-15 November 2013. The purpose of the Task Force is to provide comprehensive support to the transition in Myanmar/Burma by bringing together all of the tools and mechanisms – both political and economic (development aid, peace process support, investments) – available to the EU.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton will co-chair the Task Force alongside U Soe Thane, Minister in the President of Myanmar’s Office. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship) and European Commissioners Andris Piebalgs (Development and Cooperation) and Dacian Cioloş (Agriculture and Rural Development) will also participate in the Task Force, as will Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, chair of Myanmar/Burma’s National League for Democracy.

Catherine Ashton said: "The European Union is determined to help Myanmar pursue the path of peace, democracy and sustainable development; building up trade and investment, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and rebuilding relations with the international community. Under the EU's comprehensive framework for engagement we have lifted sanctions, increased development assistance and reinstated trade preferences. This first meeting of the EU-Myanmar Task Force brings together all of our instruments in order to take our partnership to the next level."

Commission Vice-President Tajani said: "The EU-Myanmar Task Force, with the participation of 100 entrepreneurs and representatives of business associations, represents a concrete answer to the requests raised both by the Myanmar government and by the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for strong European support to the process of democratic and economic transition in Myanmar. Europe wants to build an economic and political partnership with Myanmar, in particular through cooperation in strategic sectors, such as industry, SMEs, raw materials, standardisation and tourism."

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "This week's Task Force meeting and the Forums running in parallel are a clear proof that the EU intends to remain a willing and reliable partner in Myanmar. The EU is already one of the largest donors to Myanmar and is committed to supporting country's progress towards sustainable growth and development for all people in Myanmar”.

Commissioner Cioloş said: "Myanmar has identified rural development as one of its priorities for the coming years as part of its reform process. Within the EU we have a certain amount of experience of structural tools and policy options which may help this process in Myanmar, such as establishing stable supply chains and helping farmers to move beyond subsistence farming. I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss their priorities, to see the challenges first hand, and to try and establish a clearer plan for our exchanges in future."

The European Parliament will be represented by Vice-President Isabelle Durant and Members of the European Parliament Elisabeth Jeggle, Cristian Dan Preda, Csaba Sogor, David Martin and Robert Goebbels.

Representatives of civil society from both the EU and Myanmar will also be present and a delegation of a delegation of business representatives from the EU, will engage with its counterparts in a series of meetings in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw to discuss ways to strengthen development cooperation, promote business links and investment and further the political and economic transition process in Myanmar.

Background

The Task Force was announced in a joint statement by President Van Rompuy, President Barroso and President U Thein Sein, during the visit of President U Thein Sein to Brussels in March, 2013. Since then, the EU has lifted its all its sanctions with the exception of the arms embargo, re-opened trade benefits under the General System of Preferences and adopted a Comprehensive Framework on EU policies and support to Myanmar/Burma.

The EU-Myanmar Task Force will be the fourth of its kind and the first in Asia, following three precedents in the Southern Mediterranean: Tunisia (September 2011), Jordan (February 2012) and Egypt (November 2012).

For more information:

Media advisory with indicative programme:

http://eeas.europa.eu/statements/docs/2013/131031_03_en.pdf

Task Force Website: www.eu-myanmar-taskforce.com

EU-Myanmar relations: http://eeas.europa.eu/myanmar/

Memo (AGRI): http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-975_en.htm

Memo (ENTR): http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-974_en.htm

Short CVs of HRVP and Commissioners:

http://eeas.europa.eu/myanmar/docs/eu_vip_cv_en.pdf

Short CVs participating MEPs:

http://eeas.europa.eu/myanmar/docs/meps__background_en.pdf

Follow the event here: http://storify.com/EEAS/eu-myanmar-task-force

Contacts :

HR/VP Ashton maja.kocijancic@ec.europa.eu +95 (0) 941010211

eamonn.prendergast@ec.europa.eu +95 (0) 941010220

VP Tajani carlo.corazza@ec.europa.eu +32 498 992 862

Commissioner Cioloş roger.waite@ec.europa.eu +32 498 961 404

Commissioner Piebalgs alexandre.polack@ec.europa.eu +32 460 790 677


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