EU sets re-engagement agenda with Zim

HARARE - Phillipe Van Damme, the European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, has said Zimbabwe should fix its economic framework, political field, as well as the rule of law for the re-engagement process to proceed smoothly.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union have been frosty going back a decade ago after the bloc imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, his inner circle and selected firms in 2002 over alleged human rights abuses.

But the relations have thawed in recent times since Mugabe’s contested re-election in 2013. The EU has already made a policy announcement announcing its re-engagement with Zimbabwe at its meeting in November last year.

Van Damme said the bloc appreciated the willingness shown by Zimbabwe to re-engage with Europe, which is commemorating the Europe Week this week.

“I have been here now seven, eight months in Zimbabwe and I think we should be grateful for the way Zimbabwe has been willing to re-engage with Europe,” Van Damme told the Daily News yesterday.

“I think we have offered our hand and have been re-engaging in a significant way

“And this week we will show how we are re-engaging by launching a couple of projects, this week, next week  …., which really shows our commitments to re-engagement, which hasn’t prevented us of course to have some concerns, including in terms of clarifying the economic reform agenda, we still have mixed messages in this field.

“I think it’s imperative, considering also the economic challenges of this country, to sort out the economic reform agenda as soon as possible so that the government can attract investors, domestic and foreign investors to make this economy grow again.”

The EU delegation will this week commemorate the Europe Week with several activities, including launching of the Parliamentary Support Programme, prize giving for schools on sexual reproductive health, engaging with the youth, signing of the new EU grant to the Health Transition Fund, as well as an EU Day reception.

Van Damme said the issue of Itai Dzamara’s abduction and the eruption of political violence were matters of “deep concern” to Europe.

“We have to restore and reinforce the rule of law of this country in Zimbabwe, that’s why we have been engaging with the government on Constitution alignment issues.

“We launched a project a couple of weeks ago and we have to re-engage with government on the reinforcement of the role of the Parliament as the body which controls the executive and which frames the legal framework of this country, and work with government to strengthen judiciary.”

Van Damme said the reconciliation process was a tremendous political process, with lessons for the rest of the world.

“It’s an example of how people can overcome the past to come to a process of collaboration for the betterment of people of the countries which fought each other for years and for centuries.

“And the values are universal, of democracy, rule of law, human rights, solidarity among people,” Van Damme said.


Comments (8)

This is go and hang said subtlety and diplomatically.

Nyimo - 8 May 2015

This is go and hang said subtlety and diplomatically.

Nyimo - 8 May 2015

To any normal government the conditions or requirements by EU would be easy and reasonable but for Zanu led govt these conditions are like a death sentence to them. I think EU is being fair, actually more than fair, why can't zanu just respect democracy, rule of law, human rights really ?

redemption - 8 May 2015

The 91 year old will want everything as usual on his terms and then tell everyone if they are not - go hang Zimbabwe is Mine Icho!

Giraffe - 9 May 2015

Phillipe Van Damme is a bootlicking Zanu pf worshipper. He cannot wait to dole o0ut EU funds to the murderous Zanu pf criminals.

Noose4Phillipe - 9 May 2015

Whatever you do, Van Damme, do NOT announce you are lifting sanctions! That bogeyman is the last thing that we in ZPF have to offer the people come 2018. There are no producers left whose prices we can fix. We can't demand SA and Chinese manufacturers sell at less than cost. We can't control wages when 90% of those struggling for a livable wage are the same employer / employee rolled in one, the vendor. We can't print the imperialist dollar when bonuses falls due. Long gone are the days we could dish out to our "wives" Mercs and farm inputs got at 842:1 when ordinary people couldn't get the $ for 3,000. After you, there is no-one left we can jambanja with.

Joyrose Anylove Bezuidenhout - 9 May 2015

EU watch out zanu is re-engaging in bad faith make reforms are implemented before you doll out funds to zanu regime.let them weed out ghost workers as well as trimming their cabinet which is an unnecessary burden on the fiscus.The cabinet on its own is bigger than the country.We wish certain ministries which were created for patronage reason be clear example is the ministry of education which was broken into three or more ministries.Lets have one ministry of education.

Chitsigac - 9 May 2015

the thorn in Zim's flesh is ZAnu Pf and its leader who is in his nineties.Once this thorn is removed , and an answerable govt is in place, ZIM will a new Canaan every Jack and Jill would love to associate it with.In 2008, when they lost the election they implemented the strategy of murdering opposition supporters. Came 2013, they saw that the strategy of murdering was no longer working, they implemented the nikuv strategy. Our main opposition was sleeping and were caught unaware.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 11 May 2015

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