Cuba, the USA and the EU: Forging Closer Ties, Looking to the Future

30-09-2015

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba relations, full 'normalisation' remains a distant prospect, mostly due to the US economic embargo against Cuba which is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. In contrast, the EU and its Member States – which have full diplomatic, economic and cooperation relations with Cuba – have moved closer than at any time before to the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba. Both the US government and the EU recognise that stronger links with Cuba will not spark any immediate transformation of the country or lead to rapid political changes or democratic opening. In this regard, the policies to promote closer relations with Cuba, including the conclusion of an EU-Cuba PDCA, could be characterised as an investment in the future.

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba relations, full 'normalisation' remains a distant prospect, mostly due to the US economic embargo against Cuba which is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. In contrast, the EU and its Member States – which have full diplomatic, economic and cooperation relations with Cuba – have moved closer than at any time before to the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba. Both the US government and the EU recognise that stronger links with Cuba will not spark any immediate transformation of the country or lead to rapid political changes or democratic opening. In this regard, the policies to promote closer relations with Cuba, including the conclusion of an EU-Cuba PDCA, could be characterised as an investment in the future.