The European Union (EU) has renewed its restrictions on Zimbabwe dealing a major blow to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration’s re-engagement bid.

According to a statement issued by the council of the EU, sanctions on the country will stretch until February 20, 2025.

The EU also maintained targeted sanctions on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

Last year, EU removed Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, the late former President Robert Mugabe’s widow Grace and current Zimbabwe Defence Forces boss General Valerio Sibanda, marking an end to individual targeted sanctions on the country.

“The council today renewed its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Zimbabwe for a further year, until February 20, 2025,” the statement read.

“The EU measures in place consist of an embargo on arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression, and a targeted asset freeze against one entity, Zimbabwe Defence Industries.”

The bloc said it would closely monitor the country’s human rights situation to determine whether the sanctions will stay or not.

“The EU will continue to closely follow developments in Zimbabwe, with a particular attention to the human rights situation and recalls its readiness to adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly.

“On February 15, 2011, the council adopted Decision 2011/101/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Zimbabwe.

“The remaining restrictive measures in place do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade.”

Since imposing sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights violations, the EU has eased the measures to encourage political reform in the country.

However, relations between Harare and the European bloc have hit rock bottom following Zimbabwe’s general elections held last year, which were heavily criticised by regional and international blocs, including the EU, saying they fell short of expected standards.

In October last year, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jobst von Kirchmann, told NewsDay that relations between Zimbabwe and the EU would hinge on whether the government implements recommendations put forward by the EU electoral observer mission.

To date, the EU has since suspended the US$5 million funding extended to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission over the disputed polls while producing a damning report.