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EU Keeps The Squeeze On Fiji Army

  • September 28th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

fiji-coup.jpg

The European Union is extending the measures taken to put pressure on the military regime in Fiji to hand over to a democratic system.

PENALTIES OVER THREE YEARS

After the Bainimarama coup d’etat (5.12.06), the EU moved in 2007 to withdraw economic benefits from Fiji, which the country had been entitled to under the Cotonou Agreement on development cooperation, with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Those benefits included loss of large import allocations for sugar on preferential terms, though the EU agreed to maintain ongoing benefits:- help in emergencies such as natural disasters, and development aid already put in place in 2007.

Now the European Council has announced (27.0.107) the third renewal of the economic penalties in a three year period.

NO PROGRESS ON FREEDOM
It says it was responding to lack of progress in implementing  commitments Fiji had agreed to with the EU (3.10.07), concerning  “mainly democratic principles, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The military government under Commodore Frank Bainimarama  has gone back on undertakings given to the EU, Australia and New Zealand and other parties, to hold free elections – letting agreed deadlines go by and pushing announced target dates for a vote well into the coming decade.

SINKING INTO POVERTY

The European Council says that it is concerned about a continuing deterioration in the social and economic conditions in Fiji, with  mounting poverty, and it has begun looking at ways to help without channeling funds through the Fiji government.

It will monitor conditions in  Fiji very closely while the extended penalties will continue through to the end of March next year.

A statement from the European Council, in part:

“These measures aim at bringing about a transition to democracy and the rule of law in the Republic of the Fiji Islands …

“As long as the commitments on human rights and the rule of law are not fulfilled, no new funds from the tenth European development fund can  be allocated.”


Reference

See also, EUAustralia Online, “Fiji” archive, incl.: “Fiji regime: EU rebuke …”, 19.7.10; “Fiji aid plan scuttled …”, 19.4.09; “Fiji military defiant …”, 12.4.09.
Council of the EU, Brussels, “Council extends measures concerning Fiji Islands”, 27.9.10, 14086/10, PRESSE 250

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