Netherlands calls for revising the EU position on Cuba

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. Photo:
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, called Monday for European countries to review their position on Cuba, marked for years by the “common position” of the European Union (EU), critical of the Castro government, reported dpa.

“I think it is time for Europe to revise its position on Cuba and see if we can negotiate a new position towards Cuba,” Timmermans said during a visit to Havana .

Meetings between the EU and Cuba since 1996 are marked by the “common position” adopted by the European bloc at the request of Spain and which conditions bilateral ties to progress on human rights on the island.

However, several EU countries have been advocating for a more flexible common stand on the Caribbean country. Some European governments have already increased dialogue with Havana on their own.

Timmermans, who arrived on Sunday for a two-day visit to Cuba, said the reforms the government of Raul Castro are an incentive to seek dialogue.

“I think the European Union should respond specifically to these developments in its relations with Cuba,” said the European minister during a ceremony at the Pedro Marrero stadium in Havana.

“I think dialogue is a better way then turning our backs to each other,” said Timmermans outside the opening in Havana of a football (soccer) workshop of the Feyennord Rotterdam club academy.

Timmermans meets Tuesday with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez. They are expected to sign a memorandum to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism.

The Dutch politician also met on Monday with the Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who has taken a key role in talks with the Castro government in recent years. Timmermans did not specify if he planned to meet with representatives of the Cuban dissidents.

2 thoughts on “Netherlands calls for revising the EU position on Cuba

  • The Minister’s comment is the kind of ‘go nowhere’ statement politicians make just prior to making state visits. It works like this: He says something provocative and pro-Cuba. His remarks are plastered frontpage Cuban media. He will sign some meaningless bilateral cooperation agreement. He will review a few notable Cuban landmarks. He may even place a wreath on a few tombs. Great optics! Then he will go back to Holland and nothing will change.

  • The comment was only the personal view of the minister and not a statement of official policy of his government. His suggestion has not been proposed to the EU.

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