EFE (via 14ymedio), Brussels, 20 April 2023 — The Political Dialogue and Cooperation agreement between the European Union and Cuba will continue to apply provisionally until it has been ratified by all EU countries. Lithuania is the only country that has rejected the treaty, community sources reported on Thursday.
“The current situation is that the Parliament of Lithuania has not ratified this agreement. It is the only member state of the 27 countries that has not formally done so. What this implies is that the agreement is being applied provisionally,” said the sources, asked about the situation of the first bilateral agreement between the EU and Cuba.
The EU confirmed that the agreement, signed in December 2016 and in force since November 1, 2017, will remain in force provisionally “unless Lithuania ratifies the agreement.”
This treaty meant the end of the so-called “common position” of the EU towards Cuba, the restrictive unilateral policy that the Union maintained towards Havana since 1996, and that linked all advances in the bilateral relationship to progress in democratization and human rights on the Island.
Asked if it believes that Cuba has fulfilled its obligations in terms of fundamental freedoms within the framework of the agreement, the EU stated that “one of the advantages” of that pact is that, “for the first time, we have the possibility of having a human rights agreement with Cuba.”
“We are using that tool to put on the table our concerns about human rights in Cuba, which are very well known,” the entity explained. In any case, it was stressed that “there is no simple yes or no in terms of whether Cuba has complied with human rights”
“What we have with the agreement is, for the first time, the possibility of engaging directly with Cuba and expressing our assessment of the situation in the country.”
This agreement provides a legal framework for the EU and Cuba to develop a conversation around political dialogue, cooperation, sectoral dialogue and trade cooperation.
Human rights is one of the areas on which the EU placed special emphasis when finalizing the agreement, and the two parties have launched a dialogue focused on human rights, for which they hold meetings periodically.
Specifically, the pact promotes cooperation in favor of sustainable development, democracy and human rights, as well as the possibility of finding shared solutions to global challenges through joint actions in multilateral forums.
The areas of common interest that can be addressed in the agreement include renewable energies, rural development, the environment, human rights, good management, security or job creation, among others.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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