International Agreements in Progress: EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement

Briefing 26-06-2017

Cuba is the only Latin American country to have no bilateral agreement with the EU. Between 1996 and December 2016, relations between the EU and Cuba were governed by the 1996 Common Position, which subordinated cooperation and the conclusion of any bilateral agreement to the achievement of visible progress in the field of democracy and human rights on the island. Nevertheless, political dialogue and cooperation were re-launched in 2008, following a leadership change in the country, and in February 2014 negotiating directives for a bilateral EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement were adopted by the Council. After seven rounds of negotiation, the agreement together with the proposal for its conclusion was published by the Commission on 25 November 2016, and the agreement was signed on 12 December 2016. Its three main chapters concern political dialogue, cooperation and sectoral policy dialogue, and trade and trade cooperation. Human rights remain a contentious issue. The agreement has been submitted to the European Parliament for consent to its conclusion. The Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted a recommendation to give consent and an accompanying report on 20 June 2017; these are due to be voted during the July 2017 plenary session. The agreement also needs to be ratified by the EU's Member States.