First ever political dialogue and cooperation agreement between EU and Cuba to be signed

The European Council decided today to seal a political dialogue and cooperation agreement (PDCA) with Cuba. The Council also agreed to provissionally apply parts of the pact.

EU Council also repealed as well today the EU 1996 common position on Cuba, as the opening of the current political dialogue better covers the 1996 common position’s main objectives: to encourage transition to pluralist democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as a sustainable recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people.

The EU-Cuba political dialogue and cooperation agreement will be transmitted to the European Parliament for its consent, in view of its conclusion and is schedulled for signing on 12th December by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign ministers, and the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

Three main chapters and provisional application related to EU rules on competence

This political dialogue and cooperation pact, the first ever agreement between the EU and Cuba, aims to support the transition process of the Cuban economy and society and will constitute the new legal framework for EU-Cuba relations.

The document comprises three main chapters: on political dialogue, cooperation and sector policy dialogue,  as well as trade cooperation.

Cuba. © European External Action Service (EEAS).
Cuba. © European External Action Service (EEAS).

Provisional application concerning the provisions of EU competence will be done, while pending ratification by all of the member states, as the pact will be signed and concluded as a “mixed” agreement. This means that on the EU side, it must be signed by both the EU and the member states, and ratified by all relevant national and regional parliaments to enter in force.

Negotiating the PDGA since 2014

The first agreement of this kind between the EU and Cuba foresees an enhanced political dialogue, improved bilateral cooperation and the development of joint action in multilateral fora.

Negotiating directives were adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council of 10 February 2014. The negotiations started in April 2014 and were completed after seven rounds in March 2016. On 11 March 2016, the High Representative visited Cuba for the seventh formal EU-Cuba political dialogue meeting, during which the agreement was formally initialled.

Street in Cuba any ordinary day. © European External Action Service (EEAS).
Street in Cuba any ordinary day. © European External Action Service (EEAS).

The European Union and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1988. Since 1996 the EU relations with Cuba were governed by the Common Position, but have deepened significantly since the re-launch of political dialogue and cooperation in 2008. The repeal of the Common Position and the upcoming signature of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba will mark an important new phase of bilateral relations.

All 28 EU Member States currently maintain bilateral diplomatic relations with Cuba. An EU representation office was opened in Havana in 2003, and upgraded into a fully-fledged Delegation in 2008.

EU, the 2nd trade partner of Cuba

The EU remains Cuba’s main export and second trade partner (after Venezuela); the EU is also the biggest foreign investor in Cuba (mainly tourism, construction, light and agro-industries) and accounts for a third of the arriving tourists.

In 2015, exports in goods to Cuba were worth €2.2 billion, and imports amounting to €0.54 billion. Cuba’s main export goods are mineral fuels, sugar, beverages and tobacco. As a result of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences reform in January 2014, Cuba was classified as an Upper-Middle-Income Country and lost its trade preferences for exports to the EU. This had an impact on its tobacco exports, mainly, for which the customs fees increased considerably.

Image over the headline.- The EU seals a new agreement with Cuba. © European External Action Service (EEAS).

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