EU bloc to ease sanctions on Zim


BRUSSELS — The European Union is to further ease sanctions against Zimbabwe next week, but will keep a travel ban and asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, EU sources said on Tuesday.


But the EU has held out an olive branch to Mugabe, inviting him to take part in an EU-Africa summit in Brussels in April and granting him an exemption from sanctions to visit Europe.

The moves reflect a cautious easing of EU policy towards Zimbabwe, 12 years after it first imposed sanctions in protest at human rights abuses and violations of democracy under Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

EU states were divided in their response when Mugabe (89) won a fifth term as president in an election last July that was endorsed as free by African observers but denounced as fraudulent by the opposition.

The overhaul of the EU’s policy, after a review, is designed to encourage positive change in Zimbabwe while retaining some leverage over Mugabe to pursue reforms.

“It does seem a time to move forward and the sense is that Zimbabwe is moving . . . We need to respond,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in the European Parliament on Tuesday in response to a question about easing sanctions.

“I think we probably are now in the right place to do this on the basis that if things go badly we can move back again,” she said.

EU sanctions on Zimbabwe are renewed annually and are due for review by February 20. The EU is expected to announced next week that sanctions will be suspended on eight of the 10 Zimbabweans affected by asset freezes and travel bans in recognition that the country has made some progress in reforming.

EU officials have described the eight as “key decision-makers” in Zimbabwe.

However, Mugabe and his wife Grace will remain under sanctions for a further year, EU sources said.

The EU will keep its arms embargo on Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Defence Industries, an arms supplier, will also remain under sanctions, the sources said.

Sanctions on scores of people and companies that were previously suspended will remain suspended. Zimbabwe may be in line to receive some funding from an EU aid fund for developing countries for the period until 2020.

For years, the EU stopped channeling development aid through the Zimbabwean government and worked instead with charities, but it will now talk to the government about how to spend aid money.


  1. How dare they just to get their own mineral & land grabbing way,
    suppose they get some sanctions over how leading member state, France, is treating Gypsies.

  2. On his way to the bank Bob will add a spring or 2 to his walk and 20 giga watts of a derisive laughter will issue from his 90 yr old mouth to reach our ears. Before the end of his tenure he will be hugging the Queen.

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  4. Please EU note that you had been giving Zanu Pf and Mugabe an edge over Tsvangirai over ineffective sanctions. I urge the EU to remove sanctions completely if they want Tsvangirai to rule this country. Everything was blamed on sanctions!

    • The EU is admitting that this foreign policy of theirs has outlived its usefulness..They are just trying to save face with this latest gesture of theirs. It makes intellectual midgets like Zim Foreign Minister actually begin to think they have a role to play in shaping Zim’s foreign policy when all they are doing like their EU colleagues messing up big time. The EU should remove the sanctions in toto..this policy instrument has failed! They should do what they have done for Iran and catch more flies with honey than vinegar…One would have thought they know this by their love for fish and chips (French fries!)

  5. You are right MNK they will still go on bleating about sanctions despite this partial relaxation. As long as Mugabe is on the list it will make no difference. So the nett effect is that they are actually aiding ZPF by providing a crutch for their ongoing incompetence. Sanctions should be all or nothing!!

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  7. the EU were responsible ffor our suffering, let them lift the sanctions completely and give us some compensation. We a tired of living in a foreign country Zim z our our motherland and we need to go back kana zvinhu zvanaka

  8. haaaa the thoughtlessness of the british is astounding to put it mildly. or is it us who do not realise that a smile or two is an inexpensive way to improve our relations?
    someone must go tell the british to respect our king more than the knights beneath !!

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  10. Remove the sanctions totally, it has been used as a crutch to death by ZANU…If anything you have provided them with ammunition to destroy innocent civilians..go on remove all of them and let the chips fall where they may.

  11. My question is who has suffered more at the end of the day due to these EU measures? Is it Mugabe or the general populace? As much as I also don’t like Mugabe’s governance these measures have worsened our suffering on top of Mugabe’s shameful governance. The people are suffering and Mugabe is not suffering at all. He has access to all the money in Zimbabwe while the general populace has access to nothing. We are suffering; Zimbabwe has become a living hell could these measures please removed in totality maybe we might have a life. If the EU is really concerned about human rights abuse these measures MUST be removed because they are now leading on human rights abusers ahead of Mugabe. Zimbabwe have suffered enough could you please gladly hear us. Should we all suffer simply because of Mugabe whom we don’t have powers to remove from power since he steals it like no man’s business.

    If I may ask; since these measures were put on Mugabe and cronies to what extent have they achieved the intended goals? If not then why should they continue to exist? Please help us.

    Dear loving God please intervene your people have suffered.

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