EU Approves End to “Common Position” on Cuba

December 7, 2016 | Print Print |

cuba-union-europeaHAVANA TIMES – The European Council approved an agreement Tuesday on political dialogue and cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Cuba, which will end the so-called “common position” promoted by the former Spanish president José María Aznar and that restricted the relations with the island, reported dpa news.

The agreement will be signed on December 12th by EU Foreign Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini, the foreign ministers of the bloc and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.
“We are moving towards a closer and more constructive partnership that reflects the strong historical, economic and cultural ties that unite Europe and Cuba,” Mogherini said in a statement.

“We are at a real turning point in relations between the EU and Cuba. Through this new agreement, the EU shows its willingness to support the process of economic and social modernization in Cuba, and I hope we will continue to advance in our bilateral relations,” she added.
Cuba, for its part, expressed its “satisfaction” over the EU decision. Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno said that the agreement “will provide for the first time relations between the two parties with a reciprocal, respectful and mutually advantageous contractual framework for the development of political dialogue and cooperation, including the facilitation of trade.”

At the request of Spain, the EU adopted in 1996 the “common position”, which has since conditioned bilateral ties to advances in civil rights in Cuba. However, a number of EU Member States have long called for a new policy of dialogue with Cuba to replace the “common position.”
Moreno said the Common Position was an interventionist, selective and discriminatory “vestige of the past” and noted that the decision to abolish it has “high political significance.”
“This unilateral policy had been superseded de facto, as evidenced by the positive evolution in recent years of Cuba’s ties with the European Union and its member states,” he said.
It will be the first agreement between Cuba and the EU and provides for enhanced political dialogue, improved bilateral cooperation and the development of joint actions in multilateral forums, noted the European Council.
“The aim of the agreement is to support the transition process of the Cuban economy and society. It promotes dialogue and cooperation to promote sustainable development, democracy and human rights and to find common solutions to global challenges,” says the text.

Since April 2014, Cuba and the European Union have held negotiating rounds to achieve bilateral talks on political dialogue and cooperation.
On March 11, Mogherini closed the deal at an official ceremony in Havana. In September, the European Commission asked member countries of the EU block to repeal the “common position”.
The European Union member countries were the second leading trading partner of the island in 2015, mainly in the sectors of electricity generation, water development, medical equipment, food and agriculture.


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    The EU countries should bow their heads in shame at the results of the so-called negotiations in March when Mogherini meekly agreed to resume normal relations with Cuba. It was little wonder that Bruno Rodriguez Carrilles emerged from the meeting wearing a smug smile that would have been envied by a Cheshire cat. He obtained what he sought and in return gave……….nada!
    I would not employ Mogherini to negotiate the price of dog food.

    • Ray Laforest

      Carlyle MacDuff: Can you tell us what, specifically, should Mr. Mogherini have sought in return for resuming “normal” relations with Cuba? Also, how would such expectations stack against the fact that the United States, for example, has the largest prison population of any country in the world.
      According to “the most recent report” (the 10th edition, through September 2013) of the “the World Prison Population List, published by the U.K.-based International Centre for Prison Studies”, “The United States population was 319 million as of July 4, 2014, according to the U.S. Census. That accounts for about 4.4 percent of the approximately 7.1 billion world population”. However, “There were 2.24 million prisoners in the United States as of Dec. 31, 2011. That accounted for about 22 percent of the global prison population (10.2 million)”. The number is higher, today.
      Furthermore, ” The numbers are more startling using a different measure in the report: the prison population rate. Criminologists say this is a reliable way to compare incarceration practices between countries.
      The United States had the highest prison population rate in the world, at 716 per 100,000 people”… “The United States had a much higher rate compared to other developed countries: about six times Canada’s rate, between six to nine times Western European countries, and between two to 10 times Northern European countries”; (Source: The Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, April 30, 2015).

      Finally, many of those prisoners permanently loose some important civil rights, including the right to vote “The United States remains one of the world’s strictest nations when it comes to denying the right to vote to citizens convicted of crimes. An estimated 6.1 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of “felony disenfranchisement,” or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes”‘ (Source: Website of The Sentencing Project, Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, and Sarah Shannon).

      On another important front, Homelessness, “In recent years, homelessness in New York City, (for exemple), has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
      In October, 2016, there were 62,306 homeless people, including 15,769 homeless families with 24,121 homeless children, sleeping EACH NIGHT (my emphasis) in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families comprise just over three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.
      Over the course of City fiscal year 2016, more than 127,652 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes over 45,000 different homeless New York City CHILDREN” (my emphasis).

      Also, “Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces” (Source: Website of Coalition for the Homeless”.

      Considering the above and many more violations of Human Rights, such as recent attempts by Republican parties of some states, to make it much harder for (primarily) African Americans to vote, the fact that tens of millions lack medical insurance and millions go hungry, have you also questioned the fact that UE countries have maintained (heck, have never questioned) “normal” relations with the United States?
      I guess you must have missed the MANY “smug smile(s)” on the face of Secretary of State, Kerry!

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Yet more stuff about the US and its problems! Most of us just are not interested, we particpate in Havana Times because it is about CUBA!
        To answer your question about Fedrica Mogherini but first noting that she is a woman not a man as described by yourself.

        She ought not to have committed to resume normal relations with the Castro communist regime until that regime took actual action to improve the human rights position in Cuba.

        As regards Cuba and the records of the Castro regime regarding imprisonment. In an island with much less than 10 million people, they executed more than 4,500 people. Cuba has the fourth highest rate of incarceration in the world.