On 25 March 2021, the European Union and Cuba held their third political dialogue on unilateral coercive measures by videoconference. The dialogue provides a structured framework to exchange views on coercive measures of unilateral character with extra-territorial application that are contrary to international law and commonly accepted rules of international trade.
The two sides discussed the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba since the last dialogue session (November 2019) and its impact on the financial sector, attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the nascent non-state sector of the economy.
The European Union provided an overview of claims under Title III of the U.S. Helms-Burton Act involving EU companies, as well as of cases of extra-territorial application of the Act in the European Union. Cuba informed about its legal strategies to defend Cuban companies in US courts.
The European Union further presented its comprehensive strategy to foster the openness, strength and resilience of its economic and financial system, which includes initiatives to further deter and counteract the extra-territorial application of sanctions to EU economic operators. This strategy is planned for the years to come.
The two sides also discussed the role of the multilateral fora in the given context, referring i.a. to the forthcoming presentation by Cuba of the annual resolution against the U.S. embargo at the United Nations General Assembly.
The European Union delegation was led by Javier Niño, Deputy Managing Director, Americas Department of the European External Action Service (EEAS). María del Carmen Herrera Caseiro, Acting Director General for Multilateral Issues and International Law of the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs led the Cuban side. Representatives of the European Union Member States also participated in the dialogue as observers.
The dialogue on unilateral coercive measures was preceded by a civil society seminar on 24 March. Representatives of Cuban and European NGOs exchanged views on the effects of the US coercive measures on civil society action in the COVID-19 context.
The Dialogue on Unilateral Coercive Measures is one of five political dialogues held under the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), which is being provisionally applied since 1 November 2017. All five political dialogues are preceded by events with civil society.
The other dialogues concern the areas of: