NAIROBI (Reuters) – The European Union said on Thursday it was launching a comprehensive review of its policies towards Tanzania and would resume dialogue with authorities there once it was complete.
In a statement from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the bloc’s member states said they were concerned about the recent political situation in Tanzania, citing restrictions on the media and political parties and threats against LGBTI people.
The announcement comes after Denmark said it had suspended nearly $10 million worth of aid money to the East African nation on the same day the World Bank said it had scrapped a plan to loan Tanzania $300 million after the country reaffirmed its policy of banning pregnant girls from school and made it a crime to question official statistics.
The EU said that pressure from the Tanzanian government on its ambassador forced his departure and return to Brussels, as deteriorating rights and freedoms in the East African nation come under fire from western donors.
“This unprecedented attitude is not in line with the long established tradition of bilateral dialogue and consultation between the two parties, which the EU deeply regrets,” the bloc said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the EU recalled its envoy in Tanzania and said it was going to review its relations with the country in response to the announcement of a planned crackdown there on homosexuality.
(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Writing by Omar Mohammed; Editing by Hugh Lawson)