Cuba – EU Sign Agreement to Normalize Relations

Federica Mogherini and Bruno Rodriguez at the Cuban Foreign Ministry. Photo: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate
Federica Mogherini and Bruno Rodriguez at the Cuban Foreign Ministry. Photo: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate

HAVANA TIMES — The European Union (EU) and Cuba signed an agreement today in Havana on political dialogue to normalize bilateral relations, after two years of negotiations.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, signed the text along with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, reported dpa news.

The text must be ratified in all countries involved.

Both parties had maintained tense relations for years because of the situation of human rights on the socialist island.

The agreement comes within the framework of the political thaw between Cuba and the United States, and a few days before a landmark visit to Cuba by US President Barack Obama.

“The parties attest to the conclusion of negotiations of this important document,” said Brussels and Havana in a joint statement. “In this way, relations between Cuba and the EU are projected towards consolidation in the medium and long term,” added the text.

The agreement includes as “essential components” political dialogue, cooperation and trade.

During the two years of negotiations human rights was one of the thorniest issues. Since 1996, the “common position” of the EU towards Cuba conditioned relations to improvements in the situation of human rights on the island.

“The issue of human rights was addressed in a way acceptable to both sides”, said Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno at the end of the seventh round of bilateral negotiations held last week also in Havana.

Cuba is the only Latin American country with which the EU still did not have a comprehensive bilateral treaty. The agreement is not clear on whether the new treaty of “political dialogue and cooperation” will actually replace the “common position” of the EU.

Most European countries publicly advocated for years for a policy change, including Spain, author of the “common position” in the 90s under the chairmanship of José María Aznar.

For years, several EU countries reached specific bilateral agreements with the Cuban government.

The rapprochement between Cuba and the EU takes place just over a week before the historic visit by Obama to the island.

The US president will be in Cuba on March 21-22 in a trip framed in the historic thaw initiated by Washington and Havana in December 2014.

The rapprochement between the neighboring countries has also boosted relations between Cuba, which is undergoing a process of economic and diplomatic opening, and the rest of the Western countries.

5 thoughts on “Cuba – EU Sign Agreement to Normalize Relations

  • That’s not entirely true. You fail to take into consideration that until the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba was part of the Soviet trade block and their odd barter system. Even the Soviet Union, other than food stuffs and non ferrous metal, did not really trade with the US. Cuba’s economic failure can be laid at the door step of a communist government and central planning. The embargo is not responsible for inefficient farming, food rotting on the farms, lack if beef, trucks breaking down and staying that way for lack of parts and an overall lack of motivation due to the absence of incentives.

  • Dear Lou, I thank you for the comment. You are right but only half right. We should not forget that Cuba’s economy is very much effected by inhuman and unethical US economic embargo for decades. Now after the process of releasing of this embargo, let us hope that the economic life of Cuban people will change. Cuban people and Cuban revolution have full right to choose its own path like other democratic countries of the world including US ! I am sorry that I am not vegetarian although I do not prefer beef.

  • You think what is happening in Cuba is a big achievement of the Cuban revolution?

    I just got back from a two-week trip to Cuba and I can tell you that people do not think very highly of the revolution. It has been a terrible and miserable failure. People are worse off.

    The standard of living is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in the western hemisphere. Life is extremely difficult and everyone is in survival mode, working wherever they can to make a few extra bucks. The supermarket shelves were empty. The infrastructure is crumbling. Streets and sidewalks are in dire need of repairs.
    If you think the revolution has been a success perhaps you should move to Cuba? How does $15 to $20 per month sound to you? Hopefully, you are a vegetarian because you will not be eating any beef.

  • This is the formal end for the EU of ‘obeying’ the US instructions of an embargo over Cuba–now trade between Cuba and EU countries is no longer’ criminalised ‘ by US courts. VIVA CUBA–VIVA LA REVOLUTION

  • This happening is historical and big achievement of Cuban revolution.

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