1. Commissioner Louis Michel welcomes EU decision to lift diplomatic measures on Cuba

    published on Friday, June 20, 2008 under Regional Policy

    European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, has welcomed the unanimous decision by EU member states to fully lift measures on Cuba. This decision to lift the diplomatic measures, which have already been suspended since January 2005, allows the EU to fully re-engage in a political dialogue with Havana.

    Commissioner Michel, who has overall responsibility for relations with Cuba, said, "I am very glad that the EU took this unanimous decision. It is a positive step forward in our relationship with Cuba. In effect, the EU-Cuba relationship has been in a state of limbo for several years since it is important to remember that the measures were already suspended since January 2005. This decision clears the way for a more open and frank dialogue between Brussels and Havana on a range of issues including human rights, the environment, science and technology. We can now look forward to improving and deepening cooperation on issues of common interest such as climate change or external development assistance. It is essential that the EU be in a position to accompany Cuba in any future developments. This can only be to the benefit of all sides and most especially the people of Cuba."

    Commissioner Michel has led negotiations on behalf of the EU with the Cuban authorities. He last visited Havana in March this year - shortly after the transfer in leadership from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul Castro. The European Commission has welcomed recent social reforms in Cuba - including, for example, in property ownership rights, salary reforms, agriculture and access to mobile phones - and will continue to encourage such developments.

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