EU representative on ASEAN to work with Myanmar democratic forces

19 September 2023
EU representative on ASEAN to work with Myanmar democratic forces
Image: EU Parliament Vice-President HeidiHautala /Photo: European Parliament in ASEAN

The European Parliament will appoint its own representative to the ASEAN region, who will especially work on Myanmar.

Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament, said in a video message to the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) online ceremony of International Day of Democracy 2023 on 15 September, that it was important to have a strong connection between the European Parliament and Myanmar’s democratic forces such as CRPH and National Unity Government (NUG).

She also said in the message that the European Parliament will send their representative to Jakarta, Indonesia, in the coming months and he will work on ASEAN and especially on Myanmar to create links with the CRPH to keep in touch between the two parliamentary bodies.

“The European Union has been strong supporter of the democratic forces and the European Parliament has called for restoration of democracy in Myanmar,” she said. “I have to say that the European Union should direct more financial and capacity building support to your democratic forces. So, this is something we are working on permanently.”

In her video message, Ms Hautala also praised the great resilience of the people of Myanmar in fighting for democracy and human rights, and condemned the brutal attacks of junta.

“The military junta has committed atrocities beyond all limits and that has to be put on trial. The international community should do much more and not forget Myanmar amidst other crises,” she said.

She also urged ASEAN to show greater support for the people of Myanmar and this has to include continuity with the Laos presidency from the Indonesian presidency, and suggested that ASEAN needs to have a permanent special envoy on Myanmar.

The European Parliament vice-president added, “The international community also has to continue and up its support and increase pressure towards the miliary junta to step down from power. Indeed, the military has to be sent back to the barracks. They should have no space in political structures in the future. Hopefully, this will be federal and inclusive Myanmar.”

The NUG will also have a representative in Brussels, and there is a great potential to improve the cooperation between the CRPH and Myanmar’s other democratic forces with all the EU institutions.

The NUG has established representative offices in France, the UK and the Czech Republic, in their efforts to support the voice of a democratic Myanmar.

Dr Zaw Wai Soe, Union Minister for Health and Education visited the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in late May, and held meetings with officials of the European External Action Services, the bloc’s foreign and defense ministry, as well as senior politicians from the EU.

Analysts remarked that the international community has not formally accepted the NUG as Myanmar’s government, but these meetings are important for increasing its legitimacy abroad.