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EU Olive Branch to Thailand

EU Olive Branch for Thailand

11 December 2017

On 11 December, the EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed on a gradual political re-engagement with Thailand. Recalling the importance the EU attaches to its relations with Thailand, and the constructive role which Thailand plays as the current country coordinator for EU-ASEAN relations, the Council called for the urgent restoration of the democratic process in Thailand through credible and inclusive elections and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It noted that political and civil rights and liberties have been severely curtailed in Thailand following the 2014 military coup. Freedom of expression and assembly remains highly restricted while civil society activists and human rights defenders continue to face judicial harassment.

But there had also been some progress including confirmation by the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that the general election would be held in November 2018. Hence it was time for political re-engagement with Thailand. The EU would continue to look to the Thai authorities to ensure a political environment in which opposition parties and civil society can function freely.

The Council also invited the Commission to explore with Thailand the possibilities for resuming talks on an EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which had been frozen after the coup. The signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the full resumption of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Thailand, could then be pursued with a democratically elected civilian government under the new Constitution.