European Union
European Union

Cuba and the European Union (EU) will hold a fourth round of talks starting Monday on normalizing bilateral ties, and paving the way for unrestricted trade and political cooperation.

European Union
European Union

The talks, to be held in Brussels, Belgium, aim to address the fact that Cuba is one of the few countries that do not have a political agreement with the EU, which for years adopted the United States’ policy of isolating the island.
Cuban and EU diplomats have held three rounds of talks in the past year and a half, after the European nations decided economic reforms launched by Cuban leader Raul Castro merited a new stance towards the island nation.
In 1996, the EU adopted the so-called Common Position, which restricted dealings with Cuba, citing a lack of democracy and human rights violations. The policy was promoted in Europe by then president of Spain Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004).
Cuba is the only Latin American country with no bilateral agreement with the European bloc, though in recent years it has signed individual accords with over the half of EU members.
The head of the Cuban delegation to the talks, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Abelardo Moreno, said a few days ago he expected this round of talks to conclude a chapter on cooperation. The two sides will then move on to more complex matters related to trade and political dialogue.
The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said Wednesday the EU is determined to reach its first bilateral agreement with Cuba.
“We are committed to concluding our negotiations on a political dialogue and cooperation agreement,” Tusk said during the inauguration in Brussels of a summit between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the EU.
The European bloc is Cuba’s second-largest trade partner, with exchange amounting to 3.6 billion dollars in 2013, and is a leading foreign investor in the island, mainly in the tourism sector. Enditem

-Xinhua

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