Procedure : 2017/2036(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0233/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0233/2017

Debates :

PV 04/07/2017 - 18
CRE 04/07/2017 - 18

Votes :

PV 05/07/2017 - 8.4

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0297

REPORT     
PDF 446kWORD 72k
26 June 2017
PE 601.171v02-00 A8-0233/2017

containing a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part

(12502/2016 – C8-0517/2016 – 2016/0298(NLE) – 2017/2036(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rapporteur: Elena Valenciano

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part

(12502/2016 – C8-0517/2016 – 2016/0298(NLE)2017/2036(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Cuba in 1988,

–  having regard to draft Council Decision (12502/2016),

–  having regard to the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part (12504/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 207 and 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (C8-0517/2016),

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular Title V thereof on the Union’s external action,

–  having regard to TFEU, and in particular Part Five, Titles I-III and V thereof,

–  having regard to the Common Position of 2 December 1996 defined by the Council on the basis of Article J.2 of the Treaty on European Union, on Cuba(1),

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2233 of 6 December 2016 repealing Common Position 96/697/CFSP on Cuba(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 October 2016 on the Global Strategy on the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 30 September 2009 entitled ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’ (COM(2009)0495),

–  having regard to the declarations of the summits of Heads of State or Government of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union held to date, and in particular the Declaration of the second EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit, held in Brussels from 10-11 June 2015 under the theme ‘Shaping our common future: working together for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens’ which adopted the Political Declaration entitled: ‘A Partnership for the next Generation’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2012 on the Joint Caribbean-EU Strategy,

–  having regard to the appearance by the Special Representative for Human Rights at the joint meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights of 12 October 2016, to set out the results of the human rights dialogue between Cuba and the EU,

–  having regard to the reports by Cuban civil society organisations,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of ... on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cuba, in particular those of 17 November 2004 on Cuba(3), 2 February 2006 on the EU's policy towards the Cuban Government(4), 21 June 2007 on Cuba(5), and 11 March 2010 on prisoners of conscience in Cuba(6),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights treaties and instruments,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on International Trade (A8-0233/2017),

A.  whereas deep historical, economic and cultural ties exist between Europe and Cuba;

B.  whereas relations between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are varied and cover a wide scope;

C.  whereas the EU maintains relations with the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC); whereas CELAC welcomes the possibility of expanding relations between the EU and Cuba;

D.  whereas Cuba was the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean with which the EU had not signed any type of agreement; whereas 20 of its Member States have signed various types of bilateral agreements and maintain good relations with the island;

E.  whereas Common Position 96/697/CFSP was repealed by Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2233 of 6 December 2016;

F.  whereas in 2008 the EU-Cuba high-level dialogue was re-launched and the bilateral development cooperation was resumed; whereas the Council launched a deliberation on the future of EU-Cuba relations in 2010, and adopted negotiation directives in February 2014, following which official negotiations for a PDCA were launched in April 2014 and concluded on 11 March 2016;

G.  whereas the PDCA defines general principles and objectives for the relationship between the EU and Cuba, including three main chapters on political dialogue, cooperation and sectoral policy dialogue, as well as trade and trade cooperation;

H.  whereas human rights feature in both the political dialogue and cooperation chapters; whereas with the PDCA both parties reaffirm their respect for universal human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international instruments on human rights; whereas with the PDCA both parties reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the role of the United Nations as well as to all the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; whereas pursuant to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union, the external action of the Union should be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights – including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights – and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and the respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law; whereas in this sense compliance with human rights and the defence of democracy and the rule of law should be an essential aspiration of the PDCA;

I.  whereas the PDCA includes a so-called ‘human rights clause’, which is a standard essential element of EU international agreements that allows the PDCA to be suspended in case of violation of the provisions on human rights;

J.  whereas both parties have agreed on the broad modalities and areas for cooperation in the cooperation chapter, including on issues such as human rights, governance, justice and civil society;

K.  whereas Cuba is willing to accept cooperation with the EU within the framework of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); whereas the key objectives of the EIDHR are supporting, developing and consolidating democracy in third countries, and enhancing respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas with the PDCA both parties recognise that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of life;

L.  whereas the human rights dialogue between the EU and Cuba, led by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, was established in 2015; whereas the human rights situation remains of concern;

M.  whereas issues discussed at the second meeting of the human rights dialogue held in Cuba in June 2016 with the participation of line ministries and agencies included freedom of association and human rights issues in a multilateral context, such as the death penalty; whereas the third meeting of the human rights dialogue took place in Brussels on 22 May 2017;

N.  whereas on three separate occasions Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Cuban activists, Oswaldo Payá in 2002, the Ladies in White in 2005 and Guillermo Fariñas in 2010;

O.  whereas the EU has become the largest foreign investor in Cuba and its main export and overall trading partner, with overall trade and EU exports to Cuba having doubled between 2009 and 2015;

P.  whereas the PDCA devotes a chapter to the principles of international trade and addresses customs cooperation, trade facilitation and diversification, standards and technical rules, sustainable trade and promotion of a stable, transparent and non-discriminatory business and investment regime; whereas trade liberalisation, economic and financial investments, technological innovation and overall market freedoms would allow the island to modernise its economy;

Q.  whereas the ‘Economic and social policy guidelines’ for Cuba, adopted following a public debate procedure in 2011, contained proposals for reform, updating and modernisation;

R.  whereas two fresh public debates were opened in Cuba in 2016 on the ‘Conceptualisation of the economic and social model’ and the ‘National economic and social development plan up to 2030: the nation’s vision, priorities and strategic sectors’;

S.  whereas the EU and Cuba have agreed to incorporate the gender perspective in all areas of their cooperation and to pay particular attention to preventing and tackling all forms of violence against women;

T.  whereas Cuba is a signatory to 11 of the 18 United Nations human rights conventions and has ratified eight of them; whereas Cuba has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights;

U.  whereas Cuba has ratified all eight core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO);

V.  whereas Cuba’s National Assembly has been a member of the world Interparliamentary Union since 1977;

W.  whereas the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 26 consecutive resolutions calling for the end of the United States embargo on Cuba, and the resolution was adopted unanimously for the first time in October 2016;

X.  whereas the aforementioned embargo on Cuba, as well as US laws imposed on the country for more than 50 years containing elements of extraterritoriality, such as the Helms-Burton Act, persist despite the normalisation of relations between the two countries; whereas these constitute an obstacle to economic development, creating huge economic loses for the island and also affecting the activities of European undertakings there;

Y.  whereas Cuba has played an important and constructive role as mediator in resolving conflicts between countries and within countries, as was recently the case with the negotiation and conclusion of a peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC);

1.  Welcomes the signing in Brussels, on 12 December 2016, of the PDCA between the EU and Cuba and states that it constitutes an instrument that will offer a new framework for relations between the EU and Cuba while maintaining the EU’s interests, superseding the 1996 Common Position; stresses that the success of this agreement depends on its implementation and compliance with it;

2.  Affirms the high strategic value of the relationship between the EU and Cuba;

3.  Notes that the structure, content and dynamic of the agreement match the principles and values established by the EU institutions for its external relations;

4.  Underlines the fact that the Council of the EU agreed to establish a new framework for relations with Cuba and took the decision to embark on negotiations and conclude them successfully within a significantly brief timeframe;

5.  Stresses the commitment that Cuba is undertaking with the EU and the responsibility of both parties with regard to fulfilling the provisions of the agreement including through political dialogue;

6.  Recalls that the PDCA, as the first agreement between the EU and Cuba, will mark a turning point in bilateral relations between the two parties; welcomes the fact that both parties have agreed to develop this relationship in a structured manner, mutually subscribing to an agenda and obligations that are binding on both signatories;

7.  Underlines the relevance of the inclusion of the political dialogue chapter and the establishment of an institutionalised EU-Cuba Human Rights dialogue; calls for the EU to endorse Parliament’s views on democracy, universal human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, assembly and political association, freedom of information in all its forms, as well as its 'worldwide policy of support to human rights defenders' throughout this dialogue; encourages both parties to establish guarantees for the work of human rights defenders and for the active participation of all civil society and opposition political actors, without restrictions, in this dialogue;

8.  Emphasises the importance of the human rights dialogue between the EU and Cuba and welcomes the fact that it was launched before the conclusion of the PDCA negotiations; reiterates that the objectives of the EU’s policy towards Cuba include the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and facilitating the economic and social modernisation aimed at improving the living standards of the Cuban population;

9.  Notes the efforts made by Cuba to incorporate the United Nations’ fundamental principles on human and labour rights into its national legislation, and urges Cuba to ratify the United Nations’ human rights conventions which are still pending, more specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; takes note of the work of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education; calls on the Cuban Government to continue its efforts to end all forms of discrimination and marginalisation targeting the LGBTI community;

10.  Urges the Cuban Government to align its human rights policy with the international standards defined in the charters, declarations and international instruments to which Cuba is a signatory; insists that the persecution and imprisonment of anyone for their ideals and their peaceful political activity is in breach of the provisions laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calls, therefore, for the release of any person imprisoned under such circumstances;

11.  Recalls that the PDCA includes a provision for the suspension of the agreement in the event of a violation of the provisions on human rights; urges the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to ensure the establishment of a regular exchange with Parliament on the implementation of the PDCA, on the fulfilment of the mutual obligations provided for in the PDCA, and in particular on the realisation of all human, environmental and labour rights provisions mentioned in this resolution; calls on the EEAS – in particular through the EU Delegation – to do its utmost to closely follow the situation with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba when implementing the PDCA and to report back to Parliament;

12.  Stresses that the PDCA should contribute to improving the living conditions and social rights of Cuban citizens, reaffirming the importance of working systematically in promoting the values of democracy and human rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly;

13.  Welcomes the PDCA’s explicit references to civil society as an actor of cooperation; voices its profound solidarity with the Cuban population and progress towards democracy and respect and promotion of fundamental freedoms; encourages both parties to the agreement to promote an active role for Cuban civil society during the implementation phase of the agreement;

14.  Recalls the important role of Cuban civil society in the economic and democratic development of the country; stresses the need for civil society to be a leading player in all areas of this Agreement, including those related to development aid; recalls Parliament’s support, through the Sakharov prize, of Cuban civil society in its role of promoting human rights and democracy in Cuba;

15.  Recalls that internet connectivity in Cuba is among the lowest in the world and that internet access is extremely expensive and content remains restricted; welcomes the fact that more Cubans are getting access to the internet but believes the government should take further steps to foster uncensored access and improve the digital rights of the population;

16.  Calls for the EEAS to keep Parliament informed of progress in the implementation of the agreement and its application, at appropriate intervals, and in accordance with the coordination system provided for in the agreement;

17.  Takes notes of the process of normalising relations that has been achieved between Cuba and the United States with the restoration of diplomatic ties in 2015 and encourages further efforts;

18.  Calls for the lifting of the United States' economic blockade of the island and of the laws and unilateral measures accompanying it, particularly those with extraterritorial effects, since they restrict Cuba’s economic activity and continue to have a widespread impact on the Cuban population; condemns the imposition of extraterritorial sanctions on European undertakings for trading with Cuba; stresses that the normalisation process cannot proceed until the economic, trade and financial blockade is lifted, as has been called for since 1992 by the UN General Assembly;

19.  Recognises that the PDCA can contribute to the reform, adjustment and modernisation processes already being proposed in Cuba, in particular with regard to the diversification of Cuba’s international partners and the establishment of a general framework of political and economic development; stresses that closer political and economic relations with Cuba could help advance political reforms in the country in accordance with the aspirations of the Cuban people; urges the European institutions and the Member States to assist the economic and political transition in Cuba, encouraging the evolution towards democratic and electoral standards that respect the basic rights of all its citizens; supports the use of the various EU foreign policy instruments, and in particular EIDHR, in order to reinforce the EU's dialogue with Cuba's civil society and those who support a peaceful transition in Cuba;

20.  Notes that the PDCA, as the first ever agreement between the EU and Cuba, constitutes the new legal framework for these relations, comprising a chapter on trade and trade cooperation that aims to create a more predictable and transparent environment for local and European economic operators;

21.  Highlights that the trade and trade cooperation pillar of the PDCA does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba; recalls that this pillar covers customs cooperation, trade facilitation, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, traditional and artisanal goods, trade and sustainable development, cooperation regarding trade defence, rules of origin and investment;

22.  Notes that the PDCA provides a platform for expanding the bilateral trade and investment relationship and establishing conventional bases for trade and economic relations between the EU and Cuba;

23.  Supports the longstanding practice, also confirmed by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in her hearing on 29 September 2014, of not applying trade and investment provisions of politically important agreements provisionally before Parliament has granted its consent; calls on the Council, the Commission and the EEAS to continue and to extend this practice to all international agreements related to the EU’s external action policy where trade aspects are concerned, as is the case with the PDCA;

24.  Takes the view that the agreement will serve to promote dialogue and economic cooperation, facilitating a predictable and transparent business environment and the development of a stronger, more stable framework in the future where it is ensured that Cubans can participate in investments jointly with companies and individuals from the EU;

25.  Calls also on European companies operating in Cuba, especially those that receive credits or any financial assistance of public origin, to apply the same labour and ethical standards as required in their countries of origin;

26.  Welcomes the fact that Cuba has ratified all eight ILO core conventions and asks for commitments regarding their swift implementation; strongly calls on Cuba and all countries with which it has or is negotiating agreements to ratify and comply with the regulations of the ILO and the Decent Work Agenda, and to proscribe all forms of labour exploitation; notes that there are areas in which social and labour rights are at stake, such as the recruitment practices by Cuban state-owned enterprises and wage confiscation practices in the tourism sector; stresses, in this context, that all workers need to enjoy a core set of labour rights as well as adequate social protection in line with the ILO conventions, and calls on both parties to work to this end in line with Article 38 of the PDCA;

27.  Notes that the EU is Cuba’s main export and second largest trade partner, as well as its biggest foreign investor; points out that the EU’s foreign trade policy does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba, and that EU tariff rates apply as notified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO); recalls that as a result of the reform of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), from January 2014 Cuba lost its trade preferences for exporting to the EU since it had reached the category of an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) and no longer fulfilled the eligibility criteria; stresses furthermore that trade still only represents a moderate share of the Cuban economy, with exports and imports taken together amounting to 26.4 % of GDP;

28.  Suggests that future possibilities be explored to integrate Cuba into the EU-CARIFORUM EPA, which contains many specific and useful trade cooperation chapters and would offer Cuba the possibility of further regional integration;

29.  Notes that Cuba is a member of the WTO and therefore emphasises the need to respect the basic principles of the WTO, such as trade facilitation, agreements on trade barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade defence instruments;

30.  Calls on Cuba to ratify the WTO TFA that entered into force in February 2017; welcomes the creation of the Trade Facilitation Committee in the country and, in this context, asks the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical support;

31.  Points out that customs cooperation is a crucial area that needs to be developed in order to address important challenges such as border security, public health, the protection of geographical indications, the fight against counterfeit goods and the fight against terrorism, among other matters; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical and financial assistance and to establish bilateral instruments by mutual agreement to help with Cuba’s implementation of trade facilitation measures and information services;

32.  Emphasises the need for exports from Cuba to be diversified beyond the traditional products, and asks the Commission to create ad-hoc trade desks in order to exchange best practices and provide Cuban exporters with the knowledge required to improve the access of goods onto the EU market;

33.  Welcomes the role of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in providing strategic support to the Cuban Aduanas General de la República (AGR) under the Mercator Programme in order to evaluate preparedness for implementing the WTO TFA; stresses the importance of the AGR being pro-active in the implementation of the TFA and asks the Commission to assist Cuba in this process;

34.  Takes note of the measures adopted by the Cuban authorities to encourage free enterprise and economic liberalisation; highlights the importance of gradually strengthening the private sector; emphasises the fact that the development of strong foreign investment to improve the physical and technological infrastructure of the country and to build a competitive Cuban production system will require further economic and financial measures with regulations that give legal certainty, including through independent, transparent and impartial institutions, and economic stability to the country; points out that Cuba can draw on the experience of EU Member States in this respect;

35.  Calls for Cuba to be included as an eligible country under the EIB’s external mandate provided it meets the requirements laid down by the EIB;

36.  Welcomes the inclusion in the PDCA of provisions geared towards sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Cuba, in particular the commitment to working towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), taking into account the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development; calls on the Parties, once the PDCA has been ratified, to rapidly establish a dedicated dialogue on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda;

37.  Recalls that diplomatic relations between the EU and Cuba were established in 1988, that Cuba has benefited from EU development assistance or humanitarian aid since 1984, and that it is currently receiving EUR 50 million in assistance from the EU under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) regulation for the period 2014-2020;

38.  Recalls that the PDCA will facilitate Cuba’s engagement in EU programmes and the enhanced implementation of the multiannual indicative programme (MIP) for the period 2014-2020 in order to facilitate the economic and social modernisation strategy adopted by the Cuban Government;

39.  Is concerned that Cuba, which is classed as an ‘upper-middle-income country’ by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), risks seeing its development assistance under the DCI regulation being phased out; considers that the country’s situation as a developing island state and the economic circumstances it is facing, which are exacerbated by the adverse impact of unilateral coercive measures, justify the adoption of measures that will enable EU assistance to Cuba to be continued, and that this should be given particular consideration as part of the forthcoming mid-term evaluation of the DCI regulation;

40.  Supports the parties’ reaffirmation of the need for all developed countries to set aside 0.7 % of their gross national income for official development assistance, and for emerging economies and upper-middle-income countries to set targets for increasing their contribution to international public finance;

41.  Welcomes the promotion of the gender perspective in all the relevant fields of cooperation, including sustainable development;

42.  Acknowledges and welcomes the important role Cuba plays in South-South cooperation, its commitment and its international solidarity in the form of humanitarian aid contributions, principally in the health and education sectors;

43.  Notes that the PDCA is an opportunity for Cuba to be more engaged in and to enjoy greater access to EU programmes, including Horizon 2020, the framework programme for research and innovation, and Erasmus+ – the programme for education, training youth and sport – which would in turn foster closer academic and people-to-people exchanges;

44.  Notes that the PDCA will also constitute an instrument for promoting, in multilateral fora, joint solutions to global challenges such as migration, the fight against terrorism and climate change;

45.  Confirms its decision to send an official delegation of the Foreign Affairs committee of the European Parliament to Cuba; asks the Cuban authorities to allow the entry of EP delegations and to have access to their interlocutors;

46.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, Vice-President of the Commission / the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the government and parliament of Cuba.

(1)

OJ L322, 12.12.1996, p.1.

(2)

OJ L 337 I, 13.12.2016, p. 41.

(3)

OJ C 201, 18.8.2005, p. 83.

(4)

OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 81.

(5)

OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 377.

(6)

OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 82.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (31.5.2017)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

containing a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part

(2017/2036(INI))

Rapporteur: Frank Engel

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the inclusion in the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) of provisions geared towards sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Cuba, in particular the commitment to working towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), taking into account the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development; calls on the Parties, once the PDCA has been ratified, to rapidly establish a dedicated dialogue on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda;

2.  Recalls that diplomatic relations between the EU and Cuba were established in 1988, that Cuba has benefited from EU development assistance or humanitarian aid since 1984, and that it is currently receiving EUR 50 million in assistance from the EU under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) regulation;

3.  Is concerned that Cuba, which is classed as an ‘upper-middle-income country’ by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), risks seeing its development assistance under the DCI regulation phased out; considers that the country’s situation as a developing island state and the economic circumstances it is facing, which are exacerbated by the adverse impact of unilateral coercive measures, justify the adoption of measures that will enable EU assistance to Cuba to be continued, and that this should be given particular consideration as part of the forthcoming mid-term evaluation of the DCI regulation;

4.  Points out that, as the United Nations has indicated, the economic, trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States has been, and continues to be, one of the main obstacles to the country’s economic and social development, especially, for example, in the services, health, education, food and social services sectors;

5.  Supports the parties’ reaffirmation of the need for all developed countries to set aside 0.7 % of their gross national income for official development assistance, and for emerging economies and upper-middle-income countries to set targets for increasing their contribution to international public finance;

6.  Recalls that development policy based on law, respect for democratic values, human and fundamental rights, freedom of expression and good governance is one of the pillars of the EU’s external action, and that this should be clearly reflected in the application of the Agreement;

7.  Acknowledges and welcomes the important role Cuba plays in South-South cooperation, its commitment and its international solidarity in the form of humanitarian aid contributions, principally in the health and education sectors;

8.  Welcomes the promotion of the gender perspective in all the relevant fields of cooperation, including sustainable development;

9.  Supports the emphasis put on greater civil society involvement in the formulation and implementation of relevant development cooperation activities, including through capacity building;

10.  Takes the view that the EU, through this Agreement and other forms of engagement, can play a crucial role in accompanying Cuba’s further economic, democratic and social evolution, based on its own experiences of moving towards a sustainable and social market economy, developing renewable energy sources, creating inclusive social protection systems, supporting the agricultural sector and preventing natural disasters.

11.  Hopes that this Agreement will support the inclusive role of the local private sector, Cuban entrepreneurs, and various sections of civil society, and contribute to the development of the economy and the blossoming of a strong, independent civil society;

12.  Recalls the importance of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) as an instrument to strengthen human and fundamental rights and freedoms across civil society; considers that, given the human rights situation in the country, this Instrument needs to be enhanced in order to achieve the goals set in the Agreement;

13.  Recalls the important role of Cuban civil society in the economic and democratic development of the country; stresses the need for civil society to be a leading player in all areas of this Agreement, including those related to development aid; recalls Parliament’s support, through the Sakharov prize, of Cuban civil society in its role of promoting human rights and democracy in Cuba.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Stelios Kouloglou, Arne Lietz, Linda McAvan, Vincent Peillon, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Elly Schlein, Eleni Theocharous, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Anna Záborská, Željana Zovko

Substitutes present for the final vote

Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Frank Engel, Ádám Kósa, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Judith Sargentini

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

20

+

ALDE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Paavo Väyrynen

ECR

Eleni Theocharous

EFDD

Ignazio Corrao

PPE

Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Frank Engel, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Ádám Kósa, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Anna Záborská, Željana Zovko,

S&D

Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Arne Lietz, Linda McAvan, Vincent Peillon, Elly Schlein

Verts/ALE

Maria Heubuch, Judith Sargentini

0

-

 

 

2

0

GUE/NGL

Stelios Kouloglou, Lola Sánchez Caldentey

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (31.5.2017)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

containing a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part

(2017/2036(INI))

Rapporteur: Reimer Böge

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the new start taken by EU-Cuban relations, also in the area of bilateral trade, with the signing of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) by Cuba, the EU and its 28 Member States; notes that the PDCA, as the first ever agreement between the EU and Cuba, constitutes the new legal framework for these relations, comprising a chapter on trade and trade cooperation that aims to create a more predictable and transparent environment for local and European economic operators; underlines that the agreement can provide new possibilities and commitments for both signatories also in the area of bilateral trade; points out that 22 Member States have signed bilateral agreements with Cuba despite the enforcement of the December 1996 Common Position;

2.  Points out that the PDCA, despite being signed in December 2016, will be applied provisionally only once the European Parliament has given its consent; supports the longstanding practice, also confirmed by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in her hearing on 29 September 2014, of not applying the trade and investment provisions of politically important agreements provisionally before the European Parliament has granted its consent; calls on the Council, the Commission and the EEAS to continue and extend this practice to all international agreements related to the EU’s External Action when trade aspects are concerned, as is the case with the PDCA;

3.  Points out that there are inconsistencies between the Cuban Constitution and the principles established in Article 1 of the PDCA;

4.  Notes that the EU is Cuba’s main export and second largest trade partner, as well as its biggest foreign investor; points out that the EU’s foreign trade policy does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba, and that EU tariff rates apply as notified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO); recalls that as a result of the reform of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), from January 2014 Cuba lost its trade preferences for exporting to the EU since it had reached the category of an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) and no longer fulfilled the eligibility criteria; stresses furthermore that trade still only represents a moderate share of the Cuban economy, with exports and imports taken together amounting to 26.4 % of GDP;

5.  Highlights that the trade and trade cooperation pillar of the PDCA does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba; recalls that this pillar covers customs cooperation, trade facilitation, intellectual property, SPS measures, technical barriers to trade, traditional and artisanal goods, trade and sustainable development, cooperation regarding trade defence, rules of origin and investment;

6.  Suggests that future possibilities be explored to integrate Cuba into the EU-CARIFORUM EPA, which contains many specific and useful trade cooperation chapters and would offer Cuba the possibility of further regional integration;

7.  Notes that Cuba is a member of the WTO and therefore emphasises the need to respect the basic principles of the World Trade Organisation, such as trade facilitation, agreements on trade barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade defence instruments;

8.  Calls on Cuba to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that entered into force in February 2017; welcomes the creation of the Trade Facilitation Committee in the country and, in this context, asks the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical support;

9.  Points out that customs cooperation is a crucial area that needs to be developed in order to address important challenges such as border security, public health, the protection of geographical indications, the fight against counterfeit goods and the fight against terrorism, among others; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical and financial assistance and to establish bilateral instruments by mutual agreement to help with Cuba’s implementation of trade facilitation measures and information services;

10.  Points out that EU cooperation with Cuba resumed in 2008 and is covered by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI); notes that EU financial support has already been allocated to sectors that respond to national priorities, such as support to sustainable economic and social modernisation and other support measures; takes note that Cuba also participates in regional programmes such as Al-Invest which promotes the internationalisation of SMEs; calls on the Commission to report on the ongoing projects and to share relevant information with Parliament at all stages of the procedure;

11.  Points out that much still needs to be done to improve the business climate in order to stimulate inclusive growth and prosperity within Cuba and enhance trade and investment relations abroad; stresses that the same applies to the modernisation of the Cuban economic system, on the basis of decisions made by its citizens, with regard to trade liberalisation for example in infrastructure and the agro-food industry, foreign direct investment such as in the tourism sector, legal recognition and certainty for both private and public actors, the creation of spaces for the establishment and functioning of fully independent enterprises, including SMEs, the diversification of exports, economic and financial investments and transactions, technological innovation, private employment and overall market freedoms while ensuring high labour, social, environmental and human rights standards; underlines that this should lead to enabling the country to overcome the limitations in the provision of goods and services and to making a progressive move towards free social spaces, coexistence, technology and communication; stresses the importance of improving private property rights in order to facilitate private initiatives such as the cuentapropistas, since these have been beneficial to the economy of the country; emphasises furthermore the importance of supporting SMEs; requests that the cooperation subcommittees to be established analyse the potential actions to be taken and asks the Commission and the EEAS to regularly inform Parliament on all initiatives and progress in this regard;

12.  Takes note of the measures that the Cuban authorities have adopted in recent months and of the adoption by the Cuban side in August 2011 of the guidelines on economic and social policy to encourage free enterprise and economic liberalisation in general; encourages the authorities to further promote a sustainable economy so as to improve the still very low levels of economic freedom in the country, as well as trade and investment; underlines the importance of the rule of law and of providing the country with legal certainty, regulatory transparency, good governance, less bureaucracy and economic stability; emphasises that the development of rules encouraging strong foreign investment to improve the physical and technological infrastructure of the country and to build a competitive Cuban production system will require many other economic and financial measures; recalls that one of the overarching objectives of the PDCA is to support the diversification of the Cuban economy and the promotion of an appropriate business climate and entrepreneurship;

13.  Stresses that the Cuban economy is highly dependent on significant oil subsidies from Venezuela and on external assistance such as remittances from Cubans living abroad;

14.  Emphasises the need for exports from Cuba to be diversified beyond the traditional products, and asks the Commission to create ad-hoc trade desks in order to exchange best practices and provide Cuban exporters with the knowledge required to improve the access of goods onto the EU market;

15.  Welcomes the fact that Cuba has ratified all eight ILO core conventions and asks for commitments regarding their swift implementation; strongly calls on Cuba and all countries with which it has or is negotiating agreements to ratify and comply with the regulations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Decent Work Agenda, and to proscribe all forms of labour exploitation; notes that there are areas in which social and labour rights are at stake, such as the recruitment practices by Cuban state-owned enterprises and wage confiscation practices in the tourism sector; stresses, in this context, that all workers need to enjoy a core set of labour rights as well as adequate social protection in line with the ILO conventions, and calls on both parties to work to this end in line with Article 38 of the PDCA;

16.  Recalls the Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Cuba 2014-2020 and its importance for the reform process and for sustainable economic and social development; highlights also that all parts of rural society in Cuba should benefit from the EUR 50 million of EU funds earmarked for the agricultural sector, given that Cuban agricultural productivity remains low;

17.  Welcomes the role of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in providing strategic support to the Cuban Aduanas General de la República (AGR) under the Mercator Programme in order to evaluate preparedness for implementing the WTO TFA; stresses the importance of the AGR being pro-active in the implementation of the TFA and asks the Commission to assist Cuba in this process;

18.  Welcomes the ongoing Human Rights Dialogue and the mention of civil society as one of the recognised actors of cooperation in the framework of the PDCA, which was launched in 2015 before the signature of the agreement, but calls strongly for the greater inclusion of civil society; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to establish clear benchmarks in order to monitor the implementation of human rights obligations in the PDCA; calls on Cuba to ensure the establishment of a transparent and binding roadmap on human, environmental and labour rights, which should be aimed essentially at safeguarding human rights, enhancing and improving trade unionists’ rights and protecting the environment; recalls that with the start of the provisional application of the PDCA Cuba will for the first time engage in cooperation under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights; calls on the EU to further advance human rights in all areas of its cooperation with Cuba, in line with the policy goals declared in the ‘Trade for All’ Strategy;

19.  Calls also on European companies operating in Cuba, especially those that receive credits or any financial assistance of public origin, to apply the same labour and ethical standards as required in their countries of origin;

20.  Highlights that the PDCA includes a provision for suspension of the agreement in case of violation of the provisions on human rights, as included in all agreements between the EU and third countries.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

2

3

Members present for the final vote

Tiziana Beghin, David Campbell Bannerman, Daniel Caspary, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Heidi Hautala, Yannick Jadot, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emmanuel Maurel, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Franz Obermayr, Artis Pabriks, Franck Proust, Viviane Reding, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, Hannu Takkula

Substitutes present for the final vote

Reimer Böge, Dita Charanzová, Edouard Ferrand, Agnes Jongerius, Sajjad Karim, Seán Kelly, Fernando Ruas, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Jarosław Wałęsa

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

29

+

ALDE

Dita Charanzová, Hannu Takkula, Marietje Schaake, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells

ECR

David Campbell Bannerman, Joachim Starbatty

EFDD

Tiziana Beghin

PPE

Adam Szejnfeld, Artis Pabriks, Christofer Fjellner, Daniel Caspary, Fernando Ruas, Franck Proust, Jarosław Wałęsa, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Reimer Böge, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Seán Kelly, Viviane Reding

S&D

Agnes Jongerius, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emmanuel Maurel, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Joachim Schuster, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Sorin Moisă

VERTS/ALE

Heidi Hautala, Yannick Jadot

2

-

GUE/NGL

Anne-Marie Mineur, Helmut Scholz

3

0

ECR

Sajjad Karim

ENF

Edouard Ferrand, Franz Obermayr

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

20.6.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

6

16

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Petras Auštrevičius, Bas Belder, Mario Borghezio, Victor Boştinaru, Elmar Brok, James Carver, Lorenzo Cesa, Arnaud Danjean, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Eugen Freund, Iveta Grigule, Sandra Kalniete, Tunne Kelam, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Andrey Kovatchev, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Barbara Lochbihler, Sabine Lösing, Andrejs Mamikins, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Alex Mayer, Tamás Meszerics, Francisco José Millán Mon, Clare Moody, Javier Nart, Demetris Papadakis, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Sofia Sakorafa, Jordi Solé, Jaromír Štětina, Dubravka Šuica, Charles Tannock, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Ivo Vajgl, Elena Valenciano, Anders Primdahl Vistisen

Substitutes present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Reinhard Bütikofer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Neena Gill, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Ana Gomes, Andrzej Grzyb, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Marek Jurek, Patricia Lalonde, Javi López, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Igor Šoltes, Renate Sommer, Ernest Urtasun, Marie-Christine Vergiat

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Pál Csáky, Dietmar Köster, Costas Mavrides


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

45

+

ALDE

Petras Auštrevičius, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Iveta Grigule, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Javier Nart, Jozo Radoš, Ivo Vajgl

ECR

Bas Belder, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Charles Tannock, Anders Primdahl Vistisen

PPE

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Elmar Brok, Lorenzo Cesa, Arnaud Danjean, Andrzej Grzyb, Sandra Kalniete, Francisco José Millán Mon, Julia Pitera, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Renate Sommer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Jaromír Štětina, Dubravka Šuica

S&D

Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Victor Boştinaru, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Neena Gill, Ana Gomes, Dietmar Köster, Javi López, Andrejs Mamikins, Costas Mavrides, Alex Mayer, Clare Moody, Demetris Papadakis, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Elena Valenciano

6

-

ECR

Marek Jurek

EFDD

James Carver

ENF

Mario Borghezio

PPE

Lars Adaktusson, Tunne Kelam, Cristian Dan Preda

16

0

GUE/NGL

Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Sabine Lösing, Sofia Sakorafa, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Marie-Christine Vergiat

NI

Georgios Epitideios, Janusz Korwin-Mikke

PPE

Pál Csáky, Andrey Kovatchev, Ramona Nicole Mănescu

Verts/ALE

Reinhard Bütikofer, Barbara Lochbihler, Tamás Meszerics, Jordi Solé, Ernest Urtasun, Igor Šoltes

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 26 June 2017Legal notice