Communication concerning the opening of consultations with Burundi under Article 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement

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Series Details (2015) 500 final (9.10.15)
Publication Date 09/10/2015
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The Commission proposes that the EU should open consultations with Burundi as provided for by Article 96 of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement), to which Burundi is a contracting party.

This proposal follows a period of intensified political dialogue, building on the political dialogue already conducted under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. This intensified dialogue, which took place between October 2014 and May 2015, focused on the political climate in Burundi, in particular as the situation escalated in the run-up to legislative and presidential elections in summer 2015.

Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement sets out the essential elements on which the partnership is based, including respect for democratic principles and the rule of law. These same elements also underpin internal and international policies. On the basis of this clause, the European Commission considers that a dialogue with Burundi’s new authorities is necessary.

The current situation gives grounds for opening consultations in accordance with Articles 9 and 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, focusing on:
1.Democratic principles (the political environment and the process for holding elections, the judicial system, addressing specific issues relating to the rule of law including intimidation and harassment, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment).
2.Human rights (e.g. fundamental freedoms, avoiding the use of disproportionate force against demonstrators and ceasing torture).

This dialogue would give the Burundian authorities an opportunity to state their case on the points raised by the EU. The Commission could then decide whether, on that basis, it could support the country’s efforts to improve compliance with Article 9 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.

The Commission therefore proposes that the Council invite Burundi to consultations under Articles 9 and 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. A draft letter to this effect is attached to this Proposal.

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