Q&A between European Parliament and Commission on Cuba

EU ParlamentParliamentary questions.  2 September 2014

Question for written answer to the Commission. Rule 130
Fernando Maura Barandiarán (ALDE)

Subject:  EU-Cuba negotiations. E-006495-14

The second round of negotiations between the European Union and Cuba on a possible bilateral agreement came to a close during the final week of August 2014.

Cuba is, however, one of the few countries that have not ratified international agreements on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Furthermore, the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union both stipulate that the EU’s external policy must be directed towards the promotion of human rights.

1. Will the EU make signature of any agreement with Cuba conditional upon the aforementioned human rights agreements being ratified and genuinely complied with?

2. The EU delegation, headed by Christian Leffler, spoke of ‘substantial progress’: what ‘substantial progress’ has been made on human rights specifically?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

The negotiations seek to establish a robust framework for constructive dialogue and improved cooperation between the EU and Cuba. The agreement will help promoting EU interests and values in Cuba in the most effective way. It will create a framework, within  which issues such as the ratification of the International Covenants on Civil and Political rights as wll as on Economic, Social and Cultural rights by Cuba will be promoted.

EEAS referred to the ‘substantial progress’ during the second round of negotiations on the structure and some drafting of the cooperation and policy dialogue chapter .

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Platform for Discussion on the Current EU-Cuba Negotiations

Platform for Discussion on the Current EU-Cuba Negotiations

By Por Otra Cuba* and Civil Rights Defenders**

Havana and Stockholm, August 2014.

Executive Summary

The European Union bilateral relationship with Cuba has always been guided by the promotion of human rights and democracy, as explicitly stated in its “Common Position” toward Cuba. Therefore such values should also form the cornerstone of on-going negotiations between the EU and Cuba   regarding the bilateral Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement that was initiated in April 2014.

In 2008, the Cuban government took its first positive step towards respecting human rights by signing the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The following years, Cuba released many political prisoners; including the 75 human rights defenders imprisoned during the spring of 2003. However, Cuba has not taken any further effective steps to ratify or implement the International Covenants. Political persecution and repression continues, while any space for opposition in official Cuban political life remains wholly elusive.

The EU must therefore first seek to include Cuban civil society and political opponents in the negotiation process with the Cuban government in order to ensure   legitimacy to the final agreement for the Cuban population.

The EU should then move on to include basic steps regarding the ratification and implementation of the ICCPR and ICESCR, as well as their respective additional protocols in the agreement,

The implementation should be understood, in a first step, as the incorporation of these instruments into the Cuban constitution, and national laws so that basic human rights, such as the right to association, the right to form unions, the right to own property and the right to freedoms of expression, press and movement are guaranteed.

Finally, the EU should ensure that civil society and Cuban political opponents have the opportunity to maintain open dialogue with the EU throughout the follow up process of the agreement.

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Antonio Rodiles Will Return to Miami This Tuesday

Antonio G. Rodiles en el lanzamiento de la Campaña Por otra Cuba en Miami este mayo
Antonio G. Rodiles at the launch of the “For Another Cuba” campaign in Miami this May

The renowned activist and Castro regime opponent Antonio G. Rodiles, director of the Estado de SATS movement (an independent and intellectual group that encourages the exchange of ideas) will visit the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at Casa Bacardi, 1531 Brescia Avenue at the University of Miami, Tuesday, 30 July 11:00 am to give a press conference.

Acompanying Rodiles at this press conference will be the attorneys Veizant Boloy González, member of the Organizing Committee of the Citizens’ Demand For Another Cuba and correspondent for Cubanet and Primavera de Cuba, and Amelia M. Rodriguez Cala, who has defended many political opponents.

This event is open to the public. If you wish to attend please call the Institute at 305-284-CUBA (2822).

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