Sep 8, 2011

European Commision Chief sees little progress in 'repressive' Fiji

AFP September 8, 2011, 10:32 am
Auckland (AFP) - - European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said Thursday he saw few signs that Fiji's "repressive" military regime was moving towards democracy.

Barroso said Europe, which has suspended a total of 80 million euros ($113 million) in development aid for Fiji since a 2006 military coup, intended to maintain pressure on Suva to restore democracy.

The European Union cannot turn a blind eye to issues such as human rights and the rule of law when allocating its aid budget, the head of the EU's executive arm said.

"Today we see little, if any, positive developments (in Fiji), the repressive regime remains in place, the socio-economic situation has worsened," he said in a speech at Auckland University in New Zealand, where he is attending the Pacific Island Forum (PIF).

"Against this background there is an evident need for supporting the Fijian people but keeping the pressure on the regime.

"That is why we will continue our search for a solution that returns democracy to the people of Fiji."

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