European Union head of delegation to Botswana and to the Southern Africa Development Community, Gerad Mcgovern, says that the decision by the EU to reduce visas ban and asset freezing affecting some individuals and entities in Zimbabwe is a clear signal of the EU’s wish to step up engagement with the country.
Mcgovern also said that though some Zimbabweans have been subject to restrictions, the EU and its member states have poured some one billion Euros into health and education into the country since 2009.
He also said that subject to further progress on the Global Political Agreement between parties in Zimbabwe, Europe has signaled a willingness to begin work on long term development programmes to reduce poverty and promote equitable growth.
He further said that based on a decision by EU member states, 51 individuals and 20 entities are immediately removed from visa ban and assert freeze list as recognition of progress made towards creation of a conducive environment for holding a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election through establishment of a road map sponsored by SADC.
“This decision is the most significant step taken by the EU so far on measures on Zimbabwe,” said the EU envoy. But he noted that there are still serious concerns about continued violence, intimidation and ongoing arrests. The 112 individuals and entities who are still involved in or associated with policies and activities that undermine human rights, democracy and rule of law will remain subject to the measure.
He stressed that the restrictive measures are carefully targeted and that their impact is primarily targeted on persons and not the economy of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the EU has invited Zimbabwean Ministerial team to Brussels to step up reengagement.
The EU is Zmbabwe’s second largest trading partner. Trade between the two countries is reported to almost have doubled, fostering economic recovery and creating much needed jobs. This is expected to continue growing as the economic environment improves.