20.06.2017. Brussels. Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs gave their consent to the first ever EU-Cuba cooperation agreement, expanding bilateral trade, promoting dialogue and economic cooperation and, developing a joint action in multilateral fora.
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.
“With this vote the European Parliament is giving its support to use dialogue and co-operation with Cuba as the best instrument to advance in a constructive and future-oriented relationship, beneficial for the citizens on both sides of the Atlantic” – said EP Rapporteur Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES).
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 Cuban government should align its human right policy with international standards and ratify the United Nations human rights conventions still pending, urge MEPs. They recall that the PDCA includes a provision to suspend the agreement if the provisions on human rights are violated.
Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES) report 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.