THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has invited former premier Yingluck Shinawatra to go to Europe to exchange views on the political situation in Thailand, which it considers "worrying" following the coup.
The venue of the briefing could be conducted either in Brussels or in Strasbourg, France – on any date that Yingluck finds convenient.
The invitation, dated Oct 7, was co-signed by Elmar Brok, chairman of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Werner Langen, chair of the panel for relations with Southeast Asia and Asean.
The letter said the European Parliament recalled Yingluck’s successful visit to the European Union in March 2013, when she was prime minister.
“During your visit the negotiation on the EU-Thailand Partnership and Cooperation Agreement were concluded. We also took particular notice of the value you put on relations with the European Parliament when you met with President Martin Schulz on March 6, 2013.”
The letter said the European Parliament had been following the latest developments in Thailand with concern. “The situation since the military coup is indeed worrisome. Your country is still without a democratically elected legislature and will probably remain so at least until mid-2017.”
It also referred to Yingluck’s impeachment over the rice-pledging scheme, saying the impeachment and trial in the Supreme Court over the scheme was a cause for concern.
It said the current period of “instability” looked likely to continue. Moreover the present government’s plan for charter reform had failed, after being rejected by the National Reform Council set up by the junta.
So, the new draft would only be prepared in coming months. The European Parliament believed this was, however, an opportunity for Thailand to have an open debate on the draft constitution.
So, the invitation was extended.
With Yingluck facing a trial in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, she would have to ask permission from the court and National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), if she wants to travel abroad.
A close aide of the former PM said any decision on Yingluck going abroad would depend on the NCPO.
If permission was granted she would accept the invitation and find a proper time to go.
Since the coup in May last year, the NCPO permitted Yingluck to visit France in July, then Japan and China with her son in October. She met her brother, former PM Thaksin, in China.