Federica Mogherini, high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaks after the EU Foreign Affairs ministers meeting where Thailand was discussed in Brussels on Monday. (European Union photo)
The European Council agreed on Monday to gradually resume all political re-engagement with Thailand and to possibly restart free trade talks with the country, now that the junta confirmed the general election will be held in November.
“The European Council decided to resume political contacts at all levels with Thailand in order to facilitate meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual importance, including on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the road towards democracy,” it said in a statement.
- Full text: Europen Council conclusions on Thailand
The move came after the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order on Oct 10 called an election that would be held in November next year.
The council “welcomes” the decision, it added.
The bloc made clear the position of seeing the “urgent restoration of the democratic process” in Thailand and said Brussels will use the contacts to achieve the call and other issues including freedom of expression and the end of political gatherings.
“The EU looks to the Thai authorities to ensure a political environment in which opposition parties and civil society can function freely,” the statement said.
The council also urged the EU to explore with Thailand the possibilities for resuming talks on an EU-Thailand free trade agreement, which, along with all political relations, have been put on hold since the May 22, 2014 coup.
The European Council is the EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the EU. It consists of the heads of state or government of the member states, together with its president and the president of the European Commission.