The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs gave their consent to the first ever EU-Cuba cooperation agreement, on Tuesday, a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement
While approving the deal, the EPP Group recalled that the new agreement between the EU and Cuba should contribute to the improvement of the situation and respect for human rights and must lead to a democratic transition in this country.
“This is an important step in relations between the EU and Cuba, which was the only country in Latin America with which the EU had not signed any type of agreement”, said Luis De Grandes MEP on behalf of the EPP Group.
“The EU must take advantage of the opportunity offered by this agreement to establish a future of hope for the new generations of Cuba”, he said.
“However, respect for human rights remains a concern for the EU and in particular for the EPP Group, and therefore improvements in this area will be necessary to achieve the proper functioning of the agreement between Cuba and the EU”, he added.
Having been negotiated since April 2014, this first agreement between the EU and Cuba will mark a turning point in bilateral relations between the two parties, say MEPs.
They call for the “lifting of the United States’ economic blockade” in Cuba, as it continues to have a widespread impact on the Cuban population. The EU-Cuba deal should contribute to improving living conditions and social rights of Cuban citizens, MEPs add.
The report by Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES) was approved in the Committee by 57 votes to 9, with 2 abstentions. The committee text will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole at the July plenary session in Strasbourg. Having been signed by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini in December 2016, it needs to get European Parliament’s consent before it enters into force.
The EPP Group believes that the Cuban authorities should open a democratic process which includes the liberation of all political prisoners, the full respect of human rights, the granting of the freedom of media, recognising the freedom of assembly and organising free and fair elections.
The European Parliament will vote on its final position on this agreement in the next plenary session to be held in July.