As US Continues Its Global Retreat – EU Signs Cooperation Deal With Cuba
By TruePublica: On January 4th this year, the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, arrived in Cuba to help strengthen member countries’ economic and political ties with the Communist-run island.
As the U.S.-Cuba reconciliation deal fell apart in 2015-2016, the EU dropped all sanctions and negotiated an agreement, called the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, the first accord between Cuba and the 28-nation bloc.
Discussions have been ongoing ever since.
Signed in December 2016 and ratified the following November, the EU’s intention was to position its companies to assist Cuba’s transition to a more open economy and allow the EU to press for political freedoms on the island. Economically, the population of just 12 million is small-fry in global terms – but it is a new and untapped market – just like Iran.
Then, as has been expected for some months, Donald Trump reiterated during April that Washington was to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which was confirmed in early May, much to the anger of the EU and Britain. Given the diplomatic effort by the EU in Washington, the withdrawal still came as a surprise.
Barely two weeks later on the 15th May, came the following announcement from Federica Mogherini.
“Today we celebrate an important step in relations between the EU and Cuba. We meet to turn the page and give a new impetus to our joint work in the context of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement. We want to construct a closer relationship based on open and frank dialogue and mutual respect and effective cooperation.”
Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba:
“The first Joint Council is an important step forward in the relationship between the EU and Cuba. Both parties agree on the importance of this Joint Council for the practical implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement we have signed. It shows the will on both sides to continue to consolidate the bilateral relationship we mutually agreed on the basis of reciprocity and equality of sovereignty.”
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The Joint Council held a political dialogue and exchanged views on future cooperation in key areas. The EU and Cuba agreed to start working towards the initiating of five new dialogues in key areas that include:
- countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
- control of conventional arms,
- coping with unilateral coercive measures,
- the implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and
- human rights.
Most importantly, this deal was signed, sealed and delivered.
Immediately discussions around economic reform and doing business was the order of the day. The meeting provided an opportunity for exchanges on bilateral issues, as well as avenues for closer cooperation in fields such as energy and agriculture. Cuba’s efforts to reform its economy were also discussed, as well as trade and investment between the EU and Cuba.
The EU’s message was loud and clear and in contrast to America’s usual threats of sanctions. Mogherini’s language must have been music to the ears of all Cubans.
“Regardless of the changes in policy in Washington, the message I am bringing here is that the friendship and relationship with the EU is here to stay. It’s solid, it’s stable and it’s reliable”
Europe is seizing the moment” – Mogherini also said.
The official Juventud Rebelde newspaper reported in January that the EU was already the most important exporter and second trading partner of Cuba, and now also the most important donor of cooperation and foreign investment.
Watch VIDEO EU-Cuba Joint Ministerial Meeting