HAVANA, July 10th (Agencies) The Commission on International Relations of the National Assembly in Cuba has rejected a non-binding resolution on Cuba approved by the European Parliament last week in Strasburg, France.
The “non-legislative resolution”, urging governments to help Cuba toward “democratic standards”, was passed as part of a “Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement” with Cuba that was approved on Wednesday by European lawmakers with 567 votes in favour, 61 against and 31 abstentions.
The deal, which was signed in December 2016 after two years of negotiations, will go into full implementation after ratification by the EU’s current 28 member countries, a complex process that can take years. However, the provisional implementation of the agreement will begin in the coming months.
The European legislature voted for the non-binding resolution as there was still concern within the EU about Cuba’s human rights records. The EU parliament website said the pact includes a provision to suspend the agreement if the provisions on human rights are violated. It added that the pact “will help expand bilateral trade, promote dialogue and economic cooperation and provide for joint action on the world scene.”
Many said the agreement was itself a rejection of US President Donald Trump’s attempts to neutralize his predecessor Barack Obama’s rapprochement policy toward Cuba. Trump recently announced regressive policy measures against Cuba, prompting concerns that US and Cuba could resume old hostilities and halt normalization in ties.
Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Elena Valenciano, the rapporteur of the EU-Cuba agreement, said the deal could show to the US that there is still the chance for the West to contain Cuba through giving it privileges.
“Europe has a great opportunity to demonstrate to the United States, which intends to withdraw, that it is possible to maintain the highest level of expectations on Cuba,” said Valenciano, adding that could be a major step to normalize relations with Havana.
However, on Thursday, Cuban parliamentarians said in a statement that the non-binding resolution “distorts our reality, suggests recipes that Cuba does not need, interferes in the internal affairs of states and raises arguments that are extremely harmful to the sovereignty of the Cuban people.”
Cuban deputies said that the European Parliament should “take care of the galloping corruption among European political sectors; the increasing deterioration of social security systems, particularly those associated to health; the prevalence of high unemployment rates, especially among young people; and the little progress achieved in Europe in terms of gender equality”.
“We do not recognize the European Parliament as being entitled in any way to address issues that are of the exclusive competence of the Cuban people, who continue to build their socialist, democratic, sovereign and independent future,” the statement concluded.