Friday

24th Mar 2017

EU hails 'substantial progress' towards Cuba trade deal

  • EU and Cuban officials will reconvene in Havana for the next round of talks on a trade and human rights accord. (Photo: Frans Persoon)

EU and Cuban officials have made “substantial progress” towards agreeing a trade and political co-operation treaty, the bloc’s top diplomat to Havana said following the second round of talks in Brussels.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday (28 August) following two days of talks, Christian Leffler, who heads the EU’s external action service in the Americas, added that negotiators would discuss "more sensitive political questions," when they reconvene for the next round to be held in Havana later this year.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Diplomats opened talks on a ‘Political dialogue and co-operation” agreement in April. EU-Cuban cooperation, political and institutional matters in Cuba, and trade relations are the three key elements of the talks.

“The Cuban side is clear and in agreement that the accord must facilitate cooperation among all the actors of Cuba and the EU, including civil society," noted Leffler.

He added that the EU team had made their first presentation on what the main areas of trade co-operation and investment facilitation should be.

The EU froze its diplomatic relations with Havana in 2003 after Cuban authorities threw 75 dissidents in jail but provided aid and emergency support worth over €80 million in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Unlike the United States, the EU has not imposed restrictions on its trade with Cuba, but it is the only Latin American country with which Brussels does not have a bilateral accord.

Despite limited access between their markets, the EU is Cuba's second-biggest trading partner after Venezuela, accounting for 20 percent of total Cuban trade. Meanwhile, more than half of the EU’s member states already have bilateral trade agreements with Havana.

In return for better trade links, the EU is demanding that Raul Castro’s regime improves its human rights record.

For their part, the Cuban government stated in a communiqué that the talks had "developed in a constructive manner."

The two sides are hoping to clinch a deal by the end of 2015.

EU to open trade talks with Cuba

EU foreign ministers have agreed to open talks on a trade and political relationship with Cuba, raising the prospect of a new era in relations between Brussels and Havana.

Ashton to explore closer ties with Cuba

EU foreign ministers have asked the bloc's top diplomat Catherine Ashton to explore the possibility of closer ties with Cuba, but rejected calls to lift the EU's common position.

EU welcomes thaw in US-Cuba relations

The European Union has welcomed the agreement between US and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, a move which matches with its own approach to Cuba.

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

Stakeholder

EU-Cuba agreement: A path to human rights and democracy?

The ALDE group recently hosted a conference to discuss the EU-Cuba agreement and Cuba's path towards human rights and democracy. Civil society representatives from Cuba said the agreement failed to consult the people.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Juncker not to renew glyphosate licence
  2. Poland and Greece talk tough before Rome summit
  3. Birthday wishes to the European Union
  4. MEPs set out to give posted workers equal pay
  5. Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen
  6. 'No zero terror risk', EU security chief warns
  7. UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection
  8. May: London attacker was known to the police