Finally, the 28 countries of the European Union approved the signing of a political agreement and cooperation with Cuba, to bury the so-called Common Position that undermined their links since 1996. Ok, no problem, we “cool” again… What’s next?
The European Council approved an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation, which will end the policy promoted by the former Spanish president José María Aznar and that restricted the relations with the island.
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. 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”, pointed Mogherini.
Cuba 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”.
EU adopted in 1996 the Common Position, which has since conditioned bilateral ties to advances in civil rights in Cuba. Moreno stated 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.”
The Common Position has lost credibility among European countries, many of which have individual trade agreements with Cuba, but the policy has not been officially revoked by the EU community.
"For Cuba it was imperative that such a remnant of the past be completely abolished, because it ran counter to the foundations of equality, reciprocity and respect on which it has developed its relationship with the European Union since 2008," Moreno said.
This 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.
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 signing of the agreement marks another achievement for Havana's foreign policy, following the restoration of diplomatic ties with the United States and the renegotiation of its debt with creditors of the Paris-based club of 34 wealthy nations in December last year.
Since 2008, Cuba has signed cooperation agreements with 19 of the 27 countries of the European community.