European Union (EU), Relations with

   The 25 member countries of the European Union pursue their own foreign policies, and among those that have significant relations with Burma, some are strongly critical of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) (Great Britain and the Nordic countries), while others favor "constructive engagement" (France and Germany). For example, while the British government formally requested in July 2003 that a major domestic firm, British American Tobacco (BAT), close down its operations in the country, France has established a significant economic presence, including the sale of ATR-72 jet-prop aircraft to local airlines and the participation of the state-owned oil company Total in the Yadana Pipeline Project.
   However, the EU adopted a "common position" toward Burma in October 1996 that included a ban on visits to EU member countries by high-ranking officials of the SPDC (then known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council) and the Tatmadaw, and a suspension of visits by high-level European officials to Burma. Although (as of 2005) the common position remains in force, in June 1999 an EU delegation went to Rangoon (Yangon) to talk with SPDC leaders and Aung San Suu Kyi in the hopes of promoting political dialogue. Aside from halting foreign aid (outside of humanitarian grants) to Burma in 1988, a 1990 arms embargo, and the exclusion of Burmese exports from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in 1996, the EU has not adopted comprehensive economic sanctions like those enacted by the United States in 1997 and 2003. After Burma became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1997, the EU expressed reluctance to participate in Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM) if a SPDC delegate also attended, while ASEAN, Japan, China, and South Korea wished Burma to be included. However, in 2005, there was evidence that the EU as a whole was adopting a policy more amenable to "constructive engagement" with the junta.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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