Spain expressed support for the negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Cuba to reach an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation, because it believes that it could "accelerate the process of economic and political reform in that country," said Mariano Rajoy in response to a question raised in the Congress of Deputies, posed by Teófilo de Luis Rodriguez, deputy of the Popular Party in Madrid.
"The agreement aims to summarize the current level of bilateral relations between the EU and Cuba and promote reform processes in the country through a program aimed at achieving results with special emphasis on political reform dialogue, civil society, development cooperation, trade promotion and regional approach in the Caribbean," says the government of Mariano Rajoy.
"Spain, in line with the views of other Member States of the European Union considers that this agreement, if finalized, may be an effective contribution of the European Union to promote the transition in Cuba and accelerate the process of economic and political reform in that country," was the official response.
On September 16th, Congressman Rodriguez presented before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress of Deputies, a "requirement by the Government as essential to the development of the Cooperation Agreement between Europe and the Republic of Cuba, the recognition of freedom of association by the Government of Cuba."
European diplomats are scheduled to meet on January 20 to agree on negotiating directives with which the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton will initiate contact with Havana. At present the European foreign ministers are "finalizing" the proposal submitted by the European External Action Service to begin negotiating an agreement with the Cuban authorities informed the Executive.
According to the Spanish government, the new agreement between the EU and Cuba, which leaves behind the so-called Common Position adopted in 1996, "will seek to unify the EU policy towards Cuba dispersed currently in 17 bilateral treaties."
"It will provide for a political dialogue - which will address issues relating to all human rights, including the syndication - economic dialogue and cooperation policy of the European Union and Cuba," the documen explains.
As in other agreements with third world countries, the Spanish government adds that there will be incorporated into the agreement calls for "standard clauses, including those relating to democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms."
The news agency Europa Press, citied a European diplomat on Monday, who is familiar with the negotiations as saying that there are no "background difficulties" to adopt the agreement and that the within Member States "all are sure that we are heading towards that agreement."