Antigua and Barbuda and the EU

Declaraciones de la Alta Representante/Vicepresidenta tras la 2a reunión del Consejo conjunto Unión Europea - Cuba

La Habana, 09/09/2019 - 23:02, UNIQUE ID: 190909_10
Remarks

Declaraciones de la Alta Representante/Vicepresidenta tras la 2a reunión del Consejo conjunto Unión Europea - Cuba

La Habana, 9 de septiembre de 2019

Sólo dará fe el texto pronunciado.

Muchas gracias. Estoy una vez más encantada de estar aquí en Cuba. Hoy hemos celebrado el segundo Consejo Conjunto entre la Unión Europea y Cuba bajo nuestro Acuerdo de Diálogo Político y Cooperación. Antes de todo, quisiera agradecer al Ministro [de Relaciones Exteriores] [Bruno] Rodríguez [Parrilla] y a todo su equipo por la excelente acogida y por las discusiones francas, abiertas y muy positivas, también en temas donde tenemos perspectivas distintas.

El Acuerdo de Diálogo Político y Cooperación entre la Unión Europea y Cuba se ha aplicado provisionalmente desde hace casi dos años. Tenemos un interés profundo en esta relación.

La Unión Europea es el primer socio comercial y el primer inversor en Cuba. Hemos triplicado nuestra cooperación en los últimos dos años, hemos pasado de 50 millones de euros a 140 millones [de euros] actualmente.

El acuerdo ha intensificado nuestros intercambios y generado numerosas oportunidades de cooperación y encuentros bilaterales. En el marco del acuerdo, ya hemos celebrado cinco diálogos políticos sobre temas de interés mutuo, como los derechos humanos, las medidas coercitivas unilaterales o el desarrollo sostenible.

Hemos acordado fortalecer el seguimiento de nuestros diálogos políticos y, al mismo tiempo, hemos lanzado nuevos diálogos sectoriales sobre agricultura, energía, cambio climático y medio ambiente. Estamos dispuestos a compartir nuestras experiencias sobre estas políticas sectoriales y contribuir aún más a la modernización del país.

También hemos continuado el diálogo sobre la situación y la cooperación de la región, y de Venezuela en particular. Además, hemos hablado por supuesto de comercio e inversiones. La Unión Europea rechaza firmemente la activación plena de la Ley Helms-Burton por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos. La Unión Europea considera ilegal la aplicación extraterritorial de las medidas coercitivas unilaterales y recurrirá a todas las medidas apropiadas para proteger sus intereses legítimos, a sus ciudadanos y a sus empresas.

Al mismo tiempo, nuestro Acuerdo puede ayudar a impulsar la cooperación económica, incluido el comercio y la inversión. A medida que Cuba continúe modernizándose, el Acuerdo puede apoyar estos cambios en beneficio del pueblo cubano. Estamos dispuestos a acompañarles en este proceso con nuestra cooperación también.

La cultura cubana y del Caribe se disfruta en todo el mundo y desempeña un papel clave tanto para mantener el atractivo de Cuba como destino turístico como para enriquecer las vidas de nuestros ciudadanos. Me alegra, pues, la inminente puesta en marcha de nuestro nuevo programa ‘Transcultura’ de 15 millones de euros para apoyar la cooperación cultural en Cuba y el Caribe. Esta iniciativa es el testimonio de nuestra relación basada en una amistad profunda y el respeto mutuo.

Durante este tiempo, durante estos años, hemos abierto un nuevo capítulo en nuestras relaciones. Ahora es el momento de aprovechar todas las oportunidades que nos brinda esta renovada relación y seguir enriqueciéndola con nuevos horizontes.

Muchas gracias.

 

Q&A

 

Q. On Helms-Burton Act.

The European Union, as I mentioned, has constantly reiterated its position, considering illegal the extra-territorial application of those measures. We made it clear to the US administration in all the years and months, and we are now putting in place European Union measures to try and have an effective protection of the European investments and economic presence here in Cuba.

Just this morning, I have had a very fruitful and important meeting with the business community of Europeans in Cuba. We discussed together the way forward in this respect. I'm particular, the European Union has introduced a legislative measure, the Blocking Statute, that guarantees and creates legal protection for European businesses in relation to the impact of the extra-territorial application of the US measures. We are putting this in place.

You might have seen that there were also the first judicial cases – one I in particular with a positive judgment from a Spanish court on this case which was an encouraging signal for European businesses to receive.

We are constantly coordinating with the European small, medium but also big businesses here in Cuba, with the Member States – because national governments have also a role to play – and obviously all the European institutions to make sure that that this protection that we put in place will continue to be effective.

Q. On Brexit. And given the current legal challenges, what is the EU doing to support EU businesses in Cuba?

You will have to ask London, not me.

As I always say, I still represent 28 Member States as EU High Representative, I still chair Councils of 28 Member States where the UK Secretaries – both for Foreign Affairs and Defence – take part, take the floor, take part in the decision-making by unanimity.

On all the rest, I have the impression that you should better ask London, more than Brussels.

On the first part of your question, what I have seen in the European business community, that is investing enormously here in Cuba, is the strong determination to continue investing in Cuba.

As I said, we are coordinating actions between the European Union institutions, the EU Member States and the business community on how to create the most effective protection systems – I am not going to elaborate further on that publicly and especially not on the judicial cases as they are developing – that is also a good rule one should always observe.

What I can tell you is that the determination to remain engaged in investment and trade relations with Cuba is strong. There is also an additional element of interest in this respect that comes from the understanding that this is a particular moment for the Cuban economy with strong challenges from the outside but with a strong determination from the inside to proceed towards the actualización de la economía cubana.

In this, we know very well that Europeans can play a very important role. As we continue to see a strong determination from the Cuban side to proceed on that way, I think that our Cuban interlocutors can see a European determination to accompany them in this process, and also take advantages from a presence that Europeans historically have on the island, and are determined to continue.

Q. On reforms in Cuba.

It is not for the European Union to give suggestions to Cuba or to any partner we have in the world on how to proceed on their economic policies. But we are seeing for instance in the new Constitution some clear indications about the new orientations of the economic policy.

We are also seeing statements by the President (of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel) in this direction, and we are seeing and we discuss – including at our (2nd EU-Cuba) Joint Council but also in all our bilateral meetings at different levels, including at ours – the clear determination on the Cuban side to, as I mentioned, actualizar las políticas económicas y de desarrollo del país.

We are seeing some steps. We are respectful, as I mentioned, we are signalling the areas in which the European business community, the European investors see the need to implement or advance some of these decisions as to increase their capacity as to contribute positively to this development.

Most importantly maybe, we have discussed during this (2nd EU-Cuba) Joint Council but also in previous occasions how the European Union and the Member States can share expertise and experiences that we have developed over the last decades or years when it comes to some of the issues the Cuban authorities are discussing in this context of the actualización.

Again, a respectful approach but also at the disposal of the Cuban authorities and people to share experiences but also to support, also financially in some cases, the implementation of these steps.

Links to the opening remarks and Q&A will be made available later.

For more information

Factsheet on EU-Cuba relations