EU head pledges millions in aid during Myanmar visit


Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2012 in New York City.


John Moore

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso today met with Myanmar President Thein Sein and offered over $100 million in aid, reported BBC News.

More from GlobalPost: World Bank ends 25-year hold on Myanmar, grants millions

Barroso also met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to the capital Nay Pyi Taw, said BBC

Myanmar is emerging from years of isolation after instituting breakthrough political reforms, but it is likely to take the country years to fully recover from the devastating impact of decades of economic sanctions. 

The World Bank on Friday approved a grant of $80 million to Myanmar, its first such allocation in 25 years. 

The international community is watching events in Myanmar closely, and recent ethnic strife between the country's Buddhists and Muslims has raised concerns. Aung San Suu Kyi was rather tight-lipped on the issue to BBC today, saying while she supports "tolerance," she does not think "one should use one's moral leadership, if you want to call it that, to promote a particular cause without really looking at the sources of the problems."

The amount of European funds pledged today total nearly the same amount given the country over the past 15 years, said Canada's CBC News

Myanmar will also receive trade benefits similar to those of other nations with struggling economies, said CBC

Over one-third of Myanmar's population lives in poverty in a country once known as the "rice bowl of Asia" due to its rich agricultural resources, according to Agence-France Presse.