HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — The fourth round of talks between Cuba and the European Union (EU) concluded today in Brussels with progress on issues of cooperation and trade, although less progress on political dialogue, EU sources reported.
According to the European sources, the agreement on economics and trade is “almost complete” and there is “broad agreement” on cooperation.
The EU is in a process of rapprochement with Cuba, which began with talks in April 2014 towards the signing of a treaty of political dialogue, which excludes for now trade agreements or economic prerogatives.
Since 1996 the ties between Cuba and the EU are framed by the so-called “common position”, then adopted at the initiative of Spain and which conditions relations to advances in the situation of human rights on the socialist island.
The current negotiations with the island, which the EU hopes to reach a signing before the end of the year, does not include preferential trade agreements, sources recalled today.
“It’s more of an opportunity to consolidate and confirm the framework that determines our economic and trade relations,” sources in Brussels said today.
“It is the codification of what already exists, more items in cooperation to see how they can enhance exchanges and make life easier for our business people,” they added.
On the other hand, although the EU considers that there was less progress in the chapter on political dialogue than the one on trade, it notes that there was a “much greater understanding of objectives and sensitivities” in this area.
“It is no secret that our views differ on what constitutes effective and accountable governance, or how fundamental rights should be applied or interpreted,” said the EU source.
A separate EU dialogue on human rights with Cuba will begin shortly with a preparatory meeting in the Belgian capital.
In recent months, several European politicians visited the Caribbean country, which since last December is immersed in a historical rapprochement process with the United States.
Among the EU figures traveling to Cuba were the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, and French President Francois Hollande.
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, are expected in Havana later this year.