BRUSSELS – The European Commission formally proposed on Thursday that Member States back a new political dialogue and cooperation agreement (PDCA) with Cuba and repeal the restrictive Common Position on the Caribbean island.
The Common Position has regulated EU relations with Cuba since 1996, linking them to human rights issues.
“This contractual arrangement creates a clear common framework for intensified political dialogue, increased cooperation across a wide range of policy areas, and a precious platform for developing joint action on regional and international issues,” said the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
Mogherini, who is also the Commission’s Vice-President, sent two proposals to the Council of the EU, which represents the 28 member states’ governments: one to support the new agreement and a parallel one to repeal the old, unilateral Common Position.
Cuban authorities had been clamoring for its repeal in order to start a new and less restrictive framework conditioning the island’s relations with the EU.
The EU and Cuba started negotiating the agreement, a first of its kind between both parties, in April 2014, eventually signing a final draft during a March 11 ceremony in Havana.
A parallel dialogue has been initiated to address human rights concerns.
The Commission said in a statement that the agreement opened “new avenues to support Cuba’s process of economic and social modernization, to foster sustainable development, democracy and human rights, as well as to seek common solutions to global challenges.”
It added that the adoption of both decisions by the Council and the implementation of the PDCA would be a turning point in EU-Cuba relations.
“The bilateral agreement between the EU and Cuba is the result of a fruitful and constructive work the EU and Cuba have done together, and marks the turning point in our relations,” Mogherini said.
The Commission also announced that both proposals are now set to be reviewed by the Council, before their final adoption and the signature of the PDCA in coming months.